Rahul Tekwani
Guest Article

The creations that followed the chaos

While the FMCG sector is expected to emerge as a clear winner post lockdown, we can also expect the tech industry to come out with more products to keep track of the human body.

As we experience COVID-19, it's odd to realise that we're currently living through a historical and unseen event. The world has been over-analysing the disease, and the impact it would have once it is fully, or partially, gone. But I feel it’s too early to think about that, as we aren’t aware of the intensity and longevity of the Coronavirus.

Many things won’t change post pandemic, but many industries are expected to observe changing consumer behaviour. These industries will respond with a new product category, which will give more importance to the human life and is price sensitive, so that the product and brand can play a partner in the consumer journey.

FMCG to dominate

FMCG industry is expected to emerge as a clear winner post lockdown, and we might see many new products getting launched. Life is going to be extremely different; people are going to be more self-aware and cautious about their surroundings.

More and more focus will be on sanitisation, and people will be willing to sanitise anything and everything they get in contact with. For starters, room freshener brands are expected to come up with fragrant disinfectants, we will soon see dispensers for sanitiser, fruits, and vegetable cleaners. Masks will be one of the 'essential' commodities, maybe like another undergarment, so customised mask markets can be expected to boom.

In the food industry, multiple probiotic food and drinks will be used by the consumers, who will focus on wellness. We will see the emergence of chewable calcium tablets, which will act as an immunity booster, and use of more Ayurvedic products.

Tech to support

We can also expect the tech industry to come out with more products to keep track of the human body. Products to measure the breathing capacity will be of utmost importance. Companies, like Fitbit, might come up with a product that tracks breathing and syncs with the band.

I've heard many people talking about how we should have disposable mobile covers. But, I think considering the Indian purchase pattern, we might look at washable mobile covers, which will control the wastage.

Price versus Promotion

Brands will have a bigger decision to make over the marketing of the product, i.e., when the price and the promotion mix will come in. Over the past several decades, China has been the world’s leading supplier of mostly everything. Coronavirus has led to anti-China sentiments around the world and in India, the manufacturing of all those items, and at a consumer-centric price, will need some task from the brands.

Many brand and industry experts expect a heavy cut down in the marketing budgets. I still believe that FMCG businesses will spend more money on marketing as the full industry plays on the similar price mix, and not many brands will get the first-mover advantage, considering the complex peer group.

The promotional medium will play a major role this time when the money is allocated. While digital advertising is on the rise, we found an interesting trend in a survey we conducted of more than 3,700 people in the metros. The Indian consuming class still trusts the traditional mediums more. On trust in mediums, TV stands at 32 per cent, print is at 24 per cent, whereas digital stands at 11 per cent. The three key reasons for trust in mediums are respect, experience, and big brands advertised. Performance-based marketing will play a major role in the marketing mix for brands across categories.

Even though we are overplaying the impact post lockdown, the biggest focus for humanity will be on sustainable living, rather than striving on hedonism. Brands need to choose between niche versus mass market. And, anything that will protect the immunity of the human race will have a long survival in the market.

(The author is group brand manager (planning) at Enormous Brands. The views expressed here are the author's own.)