Home / News / India /  Indians accept work from home as the new normal: EY

NEW DELHI: Indian consumers are seeing a fundamental change in behaviour driven by health, privacy and hyper-localization. About 94.5% Indians have accepted work from home (WFH) as the new normal and 80% are eating healthier and strictly home-cooked meals, according to the latest study by professional services firm EY. Around 55% said they are likely to advocate for WFH post the pandemic.

About 80% of students have shifted to online education and 46% said they are open to continuing with online learning post the pandemic.

The survey titled 'Life in a Pandemic', is based on responses of 2,033 Indian consumers across the urban, adult population in May. Among the respondents, 30% were women, nearly 70% IT professionals and up to 80% were in the 24-40 age group.

Social interactions have undergone a sea change amid widespread adoption of digital apps with 78% respondents using video conferencing platforms to stay connected with friends and family, according to the study. The findings indicate that consumers are experiencing positive changes in their physical and mental health as a result of new behaviours adopted during the pandemic. 65% respondents stated that increased family time has strengthened their relationships.

Majority continued to feel overwhelmed by uncertainties clouding the future. 70% of the population continued to grapple with fear and anxiety. With mental well-being becoming a major priority, there was a steep uptick in consumption of online fitness and health programs. Online doctor consultations gained momentum too, with 32% respondents having availed these services. 80% of the population continues to focus on improving their eating habits with 56% engaging in housework and 32% participating in home workouts.

While consumers are leveraging digital tools to stay connected, 55% of the respondents encouraged each other to adhere to the lockdown. Local communities are back in spotlight with one-fifth wanting to be more connected to their neighbours.

Consumers are postponing big-ticket expenses. Around 43% of respondents stated that they will reduce big ticket spends across categories like automobile, travel and consumer durables. 29% are considering cancelling events, functions, etc., and more than half want to reduce spending on all non-essentials. There will be increased spending on home, furniture, fast devices, home ergonomics and connectivity to make life easier and minimize efforts.

Consumers are highly concerned about their online safety, with 79% respondents saying they avoid visiting unknown websites and services. To protect their identity, they refrain from sharing personal data and frequently delete cookies.

Even post-pandemic, a large part of the population will continue to remain cautious with most activities like shopping in a mall, travelling, eating out, going to the theatre etc. continuing to be restricted, the study found.

“There is a clear paradigm shift in consumer behaviour towards online, even in traditionally offline categories. Consumers are cocooning at home to keep themselves safe from the pandemic," Shashank Shwet, partner, customer experience and design thinking, EY India said in a statement. “Brands that will be nimble enough to capture the pulse of these changes, make timely alterations to their modus operandi and add digital and convenience as a service will thrive in these unprecedented scenarios."

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