Pivot & Persist – A panacea for brands in a post-pandemic environment
Authored by Neha Mewawalla, Co-founder of Husband.
Pivot & Persist?
Persist or Pivot?
Pivot now, persist later?
Persist now, pivot never?
There is indeed no right or wrong answer, but as the saying goes, when doors close, windows open. Windows are more regulated, however. Windows don’t allow trespassing, there is opportunity to foretell, plan and then exercise action, and there is a subordinate degree of vulnerability. With a window, there is far-sight and 'a window' to gauge the situation and step out only when a situation is under control.
While this pandemic has closed doors, it has opened windows – windows of opportunities – for businesses, brands, and individuals alike.
A panacea lies ahead of us and well, we didn’t even know it.
An abysmal 61% of SMEs have scaled down their businesses, 7.5 million small businesses are at risk of shutting permanently and 37% of micro-businesses feel their brands are beyond recovery. At the cusp of salvaging oneself, it is imperative to know which doors to cease and which windows to seize.
Some windows that the novel coronavirus has opened or has led to higher growth levels are:-
Household hygiene products
An absolute no-brainer, the size of the sanitizer category alone has skyrocketed by more than 400% since the past year while household products have witnessed a tremendous CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 26%. The dynamics are changing every day, the market is now a battleground of brands and businesses fighting for market share that pertains to not just one anymore. But this is only the beginning as even though it’s been quite saturated an industry landscape in just a brief few months, every near and far allied industry has explored the expanse right from big and small beauty brands, pharma, FMCG, SMEs with infrastructure or foundation and more.
E-Learning & Online Education
Edtech hasn’t shied itself from augmenting the limelight it has in this short period. Keeping in mind all factors impacting schools, colleges and traditional formal education, e-learning proves to be the sole way to go. With India possessing the world’s largest young (5-24 years) population, it makes a great window for a new normal even for the education sector. India is slowly finding itself to be the second-largest market for e-learning right after the US. The online education market in India was valued at INR 39 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to climb to INR 360.3 billion by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of ~43.85% during the 2019-2024 period.
Given the circumstances, over-the-top (OTT) platforms clearly were made for this year. The pandemic without 'OTTs and chill' would’ve made for a bigger pandemic. Within the first 3 weeks of March (which made for the initial onset of the pandemic’s impact in India), OTT platforms witnessed an exceptional 34% viewing increase. With that, advertising demand for OTTs is running parallelly if not ahead. Advertising duration (volume) on television by OTT platforms in India grew by 31% in the first quarter of the calendar YoY and the number of active OTT advertisers also grew 45% from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020.
First demonetization and then COVID-19, both posed earthquake-equivalent shocks to the economy and how physical currency is regarded. An apparent choice for payment today is digital payments that is not only contactless and hygienic but also increasingly considered safe. Massive growth is observed via increased use of services like Google Pay which sets cue for a new history in the making of e-payments.
With the prevalence of the ‘e’ generation, following suit is online medicine delivery, doorstep lab and pathology services, and not too far off is online doctor consults. Yet to be the new normal, but not far from it. This will urge a change in the medical ecosystem when it comes to keeping up with daily and minor medical needs, if not more.
Higher demand for insurance and related market products and services
With the growing sentiment of insecurity, lack of safety, unpredictability, insurance and allied services are seeing a considerable increase in demand in the industry. Life insurance companies in the country alone saw an 11.36% rise in their collective premium income.
Intervening in the Supply Chain
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, an over-saturated conversation has been that of the need to diversify supply chain operations from China to India. What is not over-saturated on the other hand, is the supply chain itself. Yet, recently, about two dozen companies pledged $1.5 billion of investment to set up mobile-phone factories in the country as a stop-gap to the prospective deficit expected from the China import limitations. Meanwhile, Indian stakeholders plan to set aside ₹10,000 crores to boost local pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing to encourage more homegrown businesses and brands.
Food & Other Delivery
The home delivery industry is probably one of the very few industries that is nearing pre-COVID levels within the danger year itself. Growing at a CAGR of more than 23% the segment opens doors to not only revival in its economic environment but also employment, more start-ups, satellite kitchens and also an opportunity to diversify wherever applicable. In fact, the country’s PM hinted at a standalone app to aggregate food street hawkers, an integral cultural component of the unorganised food industry of India.
The forecast for the e-commerce industry for 2030 is a whopping 666% from USD 30 billion in 2018 to USD 200 billion in 2028. While an incline was foreseen, the perpendicularity of it was not. What has changed, however, is the complexities of the consumer patterns. The inclination towards essentials and affordable items v/s luxuries and frills. Complex because what is essential and what is not, is not only difficult to measure but also too early to ascertain.
Some windows that are waiting to open or haven’t opened wide enough:-
An integrated health ecosystem
The perils of the pandemic brought forward the perils of the health industry in more ways than one. So much so that it opens a new window of opportunity to a more stellar health agenda which integrates diverse stakeholders to create a vigorous health landscape.
Safer travel and transport
India – a rather spacious land from length to length and breadth to breadth, something that keeps it together is its rather spine-like support system which is travel and transport. Slightly defunct in some ways for its own good, the pandemic making it further defunct by interrupting the railways almost entirely and roadways and airways to an extent, public transport has changed. Good, bad or ugly? Too early to say but the new normal is still to be determined when it comes to transport in India. What will that be?
Globally competitive apps and game development
With the ban of many Chinese-origin apps and games and the attachment issues that come with it, an unspoken demand arises for homegrown apps and game development that are so globally competitive that they create ripples not only in India but also in international markets.
Drive-in movie theatres
While drive-in is not entirely untreaded land in the country, it isn’t one that has flourished here yet. But there is endless potential in these theatres as social distancing norms can be followed easily and at the same time, outdoor and live entertainment won’t have to be discounted so greatly.
Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, automation
Cloud, while still in its nascent stage, not only in India but also globally, is definitely seeing a surge in the year 2020 with more businesses moving their workload to the cloud. The market is forecast to grow 3X to USD 7.1 by 2022. By 2025, 80% of all enterprise workload is expected to move to the Cloud. Artificial intelligence will boost productivity and automated engagement will be a default feature in the digital landscape.
Matrimonial & Dating apps
Who would know amidst social distancing norms dating apps and online matrimony platforms are the ones to see an early light at the end of the tunnel? An 11% and 29% increase in GenZ registrations and messages, sent respectively, has been witnessed. With immense levels of growth potential in customer acquisition and exploration of the new social distancing era, ‘social’ media to find love (or its allies) is definitely something people are swiping right to.
With all doors closed, are you opening a window or at least peeping out and peering into others? A panacea lies ahead of you and now you know it.