Anchit Chauhan
Guest Article

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Here are some of the ways in which the behaviour of the Indian consumer might evolve in the imminent future.

The Covid-19 crisis has brought the world to a stand-still. In India about 1.3 billion consumers are under lock-down, unlike ever before. This has resulted in a boom in certain industries, and a crisis in most others.

The 21-day period, in an environment of crisis, is likely to bring about several changes in the way the Indian consumers behave, even post Covid-19. Changes, which if brands take cognizance of, can help strengthen their connections with their audiences.

Here are some of the ways in which the behaviour of the Indian consumer might evolve in the imminent future.

Tech adoption and friendliness

A variety of tech-services have seen a surge in adoption across consumer groups.

  • Video Conferencing

  • OTT

  • E-Commerce

  • Online banking / payments

Additionally, the friendliness with technology will also increase as consumers spend more time with not only their devices, but also with various services. (Smartphone usage grew to 25 hours a week).

This removes common usage and adoption barriers w.r.t. tech services e.g. security, efficacy and UI complication concerns – especially against Payment/Banking and e-Comm services.

Media Consumption

OTT viewership has gone up significantly since the onset of Covid-19 in India.

  • Hotstar reported an 18% increase in engagement and 20% increase in afternoon time band

  • Sony LIV reported 1 20% increase in video views and time-spent on the platform

  • TV Consumption increased by 8% while reach increased by 32 million

Exclusive content on OTT will act as a hook for consumers to stay with the platforms even post Covid-19 – helping boost OTT’s reach and relevance.

Self-care

The crisis has brought focus to the topic of self-care.

  • Health and fitness

  • Nutrition

  • Immunity and wellbeing

  • Personal hygiene

Consumers are likely to understand this subject better and be more demanding from their product choices in these categories.

Likely to accelerate consumption of health products and services – consumption of nutrition and wellbeing related content – adoption of apps and technology, etc.

Expectations from brands

Through the crisis many brands have led from the front and set examples in CSR.

  • Frontline services (LVMH, Pernod Ricard)

  • Donations (Coca Cola, Philippines)

  • Employee well-being (Tata, RIL, etc.)

A Kantar research shows that consumers expect the brands they choose to look after their employees first and foremost, with 78% saying take care of employees’ health and 62% saying implement flexible working.

Consumer and employee friendly practices and initiatives are likely to benefit the brands in the future, as well.

Ethics will become as important as aesthetics as consumers prioritize purposeful brands”

- Bain & Company

Environmental Consciousness

Consumer concern about sustainability and environment is likely to be reinforced by the crisis, which stresses on the importance of environmental and social governance.

This heightened consciousness will impact consumer choices not merely at the product level, but also at a brand level.

Therefore, brands that adopt a more human approach in not just how they advertise themselves, but also how they run their business, are the ones that are likely to forge strong and lasting connections with the consumer.

Self-dependence

While born out of compulsion, consumers will acquire new skills, especially w.r.t household activities, e.g. cooking.

As per YouTube data, recipe videos are some of the most searched and consumed content on the platform - 45% increase in cooking / recipe videos over 2019.

The consumer is likely to put to use these newly acquired skills, like cooking, post Covid-19 crisis too.

Presenting brands across home, durables, food and nutrition category to engage in conversation with the consumer beyond just the product.

Renewed passion for experiences

Forced to be inside and give up on experiential activities like,

  • Dining out

  • Movies

  • Travel

  • Shopping

  • Other outdoor activities

Consumers are likely to return to such activities with renewed vigour and passion.

It’s likely to lead to a short-term spike, however brands that can create unique experiences will earn long term engagement with consumers.

Overall, most of these changes are positive in nature and likely to benefit those brands in the post-Covid world, which can adapt themselves to new consumer expectations that will emerge from these unprecedented times.

Ref:

Covid-19 Barometer, Kantar

Luxury after Covid-19: Changed for (the) Good? – Bain & Company

Hotstar Data

Sony LIV Data

YouTube Data

(The author is director – Strategy at Dentsu WebChutney.)