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Business News/ Opinion / Views/  Opinion | Coronavirus and the changed consumer behaviour

Opinion | Coronavirus and the changed consumer behaviour

Social distancing is the new way of life and will be here for sometime. It has forced everyone to be at home and celebrate with close family only
  • Not only in India, around the world, 'Stay home', 'Stay safe' is the new way of life
  • Companies are partnering with grocery shops to help them to deliver grocery. (Photo: ANI)Premium
    Companies are partnering with grocery shops to help them to deliver grocery. (Photo: ANI)

    In last few weeks, a lot has changed in India, crowded public place to social distancing, mad rush to go to office to work from home, running behind non-essential services to be happy with basic essential service, normal life with a stable job to a unknown future with a pain of unemployment but other way to look at this situation, people are getting enough quality time to spend with their family.

    Definitely coronavirus has made a strong impact on everyone life. Some companies have started taking stringent measure of payout and layoffs to survive and some companies have been trying to re-invent themselves to survive in coming days.

    I read somewhere that Newton had done a lot of invention in the field of science and mathematics during his quarantine time and I am sure, we will see many more innovation through technology after this pandemic.

    But something has really changed, which is going to last for long, change in consumer behaviour and the way they look at their life.

    Grocery shopping

    Malls and restaurants are closed and people spend more and more time at home, they cook at home therefore demand at grocery shops has been seeing a continuous spike. People even avoid going out for grocery shopping and demands more and more person for the online grocery delivery service person. We have been seeing other companies are partnering with grocery shops to help them to deliver grocery.

    Fine dining and food delivery service

    Social distancing is the new way of life and will be here for sometime. Fine dining, casual dining and fast foods has been already in pain and in this new way of life, people prefer to have safe delivery service. Restaurants will spend more and more on sanitisation and hygiene and help consumer with food delivery service.

    Media and entertainment

    One of the most common habits across all the income group in India was to spend on media and entertainment. Movie theatres, Social gathering, Dating, Clubs, Parks, Events was the normal way of life during weekends and holidays. Theatres, clubs, Parks, events have all gone quiet. When most of the entertainment channel for people are on hold, there are a new ray of light for the entertainment world, companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime, online games, news apps are holding the people emotions and time high.


    Retail shopping has been struggling with the rise of services from online players like Flipkart and Amazon in India. Now after this coronavirus pandemic, and the social distancing a new norm of life, retail shopping is not seeing any ray of light in near time. Brick and mortal stores needs to adopt technology and invent a new way to attract consumers maintaining social distancing.

    Automobile and ride sharing

    While many will argue on the future way of commuting, but people will be more bothered about social distancing and will definitely going to hit the ride sharing companies like Ola and Uber in India. People will prefer to own budget vehicle for their commute and automobile industry may see some spike after this COVID-19. Work from home may become a norm of life, but 80% of the work force still require to go to plants for their jobs and looking forward to see how technology is going to provide a solution for this.

    Health and beauty

    Early to say, but no one is going to the gym and beauty parlour now a days. People wants to be healthy and wants to look beautiful, but what will be the new way to build your health by maintaining social distancing. Everyone can not afford to set up gym and personal beauty parlour at home. Time will tell, but the space will be interesting to witness the consumer behaviour to innovate something new.

    Tour and travel

    Industry which really needs immediate innovation to survive is the tour and travel. Not only in India, around the world, “Stay home", “Stay safe" is the new way of life. Online travel booking site and airlines companies have seen their sales in last few weeks and they have taken an immediate steps as well by salary cut and lay offs, as they do not see immediate solution of this crisis. Even though we will come out of this pandemic, people will avoid unnecessary travel and will try to find a solution through other online mode of communication.

    Festival, religious and worship

    We never had dream of putting a lock to the gate of our religious places and this is not for one particular religion. Festival and religious means, a social gathering. People used to meet and greet each other and celebrate together. Social distancing forced everyone to be at home and celebrate with close family only. They observe their holy day over video call. People wants to go out to worship and visit their religious places, but no one has answer to this question at this point of time.

    Crisis moments always present an opportunity, and will see more sophisticated and smart use of technology. No one knows exactly what will come out of this. Consumer behaviour has already changed a lot in last few days, and giving an opportunity for the innovation to re-write the new normal way of living.

    A technology and product leader, Rahul Kumar is Group Chief Product Officer with HT Media Group. He has been leveraging AI, ML and IOT to transform consumer behaviour and solving business problems across technology led startups and conglomerate. Views presented here is author’s person view.

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    Published: 14 Apr 2020, 08:04 PM IST
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