COVID – 19 has started a new story in all of our lives. It is a pandemic that has shaken the very foundation of every business structure. Our business today looks like the tension-filled examination room where entrepreneurs seemed to have received a blank paper. Is it really a blank paper though? Not really. Some of the businesses and some of our entrepreneurs have already started to fill up these blank pages with new plans and structures. But, to make sure that these new plans or these new changes bring in profits every business has to consider the changing behavioral structure of their consumers.
Consumers are the soul of every type of business be it B2B or B2C. As we slowly move towards recovery, we can see that the period of isolation by social distancing, and economic uncertainty has changed consumers’ perspectives and preferences. The new normal comprises of a lot of changes in all aspects of life along with the high rate of unemployment, lower salaries, and lower spending on traveling. We see a surge and interesting market trends in quite a few notable areas as follows:
E-Commerce Is On The Rise
Digital Commerce has surged significantly as a result of the pandemic. Online spending has increased a lot. Data suggests that B2B e-commerce sales have reached nearly $ 1.2 trillion in 2020. Amazon is said to be reaching approximately $50 billion in direct-to-consumer sales volume by the end of 2023. According to Digital Commerce 360, the pandemic will lead to an additional $40 billion in revenue during the holiday months of November and December 2020. So, brick and motor stores have to pick up this changing behavior of consumer buying and try shifting to online selling as it is expected that there will be a surge in social media users by approximately 220 million by 2024.
Brand Loyalty Lies On Thin Ice
Right now, the consumer’s buying habits are showing a drastic change due to the pandemic. They are becoming less picky about their brand choices. Consumers are mostly looking at availability, value, and convivence now before buying an item as money is a little tight now and also as most prominent brands were unable to meet the huge demand for certain products like sanitizers, health care products, cleaning supplies, etc., at the start of the pandemic. I used to have a huge preference for Dettol for buying sanitizers, but I was unable to get a hold of it for a whole month and had to shift to buying from the local brands. So, it is more important now for brands to market themselves properly to connect with their desired audience as competition has drastically increased due to the pandemic. There is still a belief among successful brands that this change is temporary, and people’s habits will change back to normal once the pandemic is over. But, it will really depend on how accustomed consumers become to the new normal.
Reduced Spending On Luxury Goods And Increase In Spending On Medical Items And Necessities
According to the report given by McKinsey & Company, we can clearly see that consumer has started taking more care of what they want to spend their money on. Groceries top the list in most countries. Necessity items overtake all kinds of luxury items along with traveling outside and entertainment outside. The global medical supplies market is estimated to be growing at CGAR 13 % approximately due to COVID – 19. The need for keeping our environment clean and to maintain personal hygiene had increased the sale of disinfectants and sanitizer, healthcare products, masks and gloves, and diagnostic supplies.
Digital Learning To Become The New Norm
Online education has become the new norm. Parents working from home want their children to be spending more time nurturing their skills rather than just spending idle time. Moreover, now as daily school visits are no longer appropriate children have more time on their hands to learn new things. Platforms like Udemy, and Byju are attracting lot more children than before. Data from Udemy shows that there is global growth in top-ranking professional skills which includes Neural Networks (61% increase), Communication Skills (131%), and Growth Mindset (206%), Passion topics like Pilates (402% increase), Technical Drawing (920%), and Ukulele (292%), courses related to Telecommuting (21,598% increase) and Virtual Teams (1,523%), as well as Decision Making (277%), Self – Discipline (237%), and Stress Management (235%). Online meeting software like Google classroom, FCC, Skype, and Zoom has seen are huge surge in their customer base. Virtual tutoring apps, video conferencing tools, and online learning platforms’ overall market is estimated to reach $ 300 billion approximately by the year 2025.
Digital Entertainment Media
OTT platforms and digital media have seen a huge expansion since the pandemic as people are staying indoors mostly now and these platforms are easy to access. As tourism has seen a huge fall after the COVID crisis hit us, people are mostly finding entertainment at home now. The demand for Broadband internet and FTTH companies has also seen to be on an increasing curve due to people shifting to the use of laptops and TVs now. The new normal has brought about a change in the companies too as some of them have already started planning to make work remote in the upcoming years so there is a high chance of more surge in digital media platform users.
Some sectors of business are flourishing like video conferencing platform Zoom, pet supplier Chewy, meal kit company Blue Apron, as well as some startups, and some are struggling to catch up mostly in the restaurant business, the small retail shops, and the malls. What do you think can help these businesses catch up faster? I believe it is a resourceful market research and the resource costlier than oil, i.e., Data. The power of data will determine which business can sail through these currents caused by COVID – 19, which business will just float and try to reach towards the currents, and which businesses will sink. Every business must think about new ways of marketing their products now to capture consumer demand and increase sales. Valid data tells us how and where consumer purchases, what type of goods and services consumers target, and what experience consumer gathers after each buying. So, to have the market edge now and post COVID crisis the retailers and businesses should depend on their ability to be authentic, data-driven, flexible, situationally aware, and willing to adapt quickly. Their services should be more personalized and interactive so that they can maintain brand loyalty and meaningful customer engagement, operate efficiently, and still be financially valid.
But the main question that arises here is are these surges in a certain sector and the downfall in certain sectors will be persistent even after COVID crisis? How much of the new normal will be retained even after the release of the vaccine? Please leave your comments below and share your views.