- July 27, 2023
Shifting tides: How Indian consumers have changed after pandemic
Post-COVID, Indian consumer behavior shifts towards digitization, health focus, sustainability, locality support, and cost-consciousness, reshaping the business landscape.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, and India is no exception. Even though the pandemic seems to be a distant memory now, it is fascinating to witness how consumer behaviour has transformed post-COVID. From shopping habits to lifestyle choices, Indians are embracing new trends and adapting to the “new normal” in remarkable ways.
Embracing the virtual realm in the wake of the pandemic, India experienced a digital revolution like never before. E-commerce became a lifeline for consumers as they turned to online platforms for everything from groceries to fashion. Mobile payment apps gained popularity, allowing for convenient and contactless transactions. From virtual shopping carts to doorstep deliveries, the digital landscape has forever altered the way we shop and interact.
COVID-19 brought health and hygiene to the forefront of everyone’s minds. Indians became more conscious of their well-being, demanding products that promote personal hygiene, sanitization, and immunity. Hand sanitizers, face masks, and vitamin supplements flew off the shelves as consumers prioritized their health and safety.
The phrase ‘safety first’ became a mantra as individuals seek out businesses that go the extra mile to ensure cleanliness and adherence to health protocols.
A survey by OneGreen, one of Asia’s largest e-commerce marketplaces for sustainable products, indicates a shift towards health-conscious and environmentally-friendly buying. Eight out of 10 Indians have changed their buying behaviour to prioritize their health and well-being, while six out of 10 respondents consider the environmental impact when making purchase decisions. The data suggests that “green” choices are gaining popularity, reflecting a conscious shift towards more sustainable and mindful consumption in India.
The traditional office setup took a backseat as remote work became the norm. Indians quickly adapted to home-based services, embracing virtual meetings, online education, and telemedicine. The home office transformed into a hub of productivity, with people seeking out flexible and convenient solutions that fit seamlessly into their lives. Online learning platforms, telehealth consultations, and fitness apps gained popularity, empowering individuals to thrive within the comfort of their own homes.
Changing consumer patterns
The pandemic also sparked a sense of consciousness among Indian consumers, prompting them to reevaluate their consumption patterns. Sustainability and ethical practices took centre stage as people became more aware of the environmental impact of their choices. From eco-friendly products to brands that prioritize social responsibility, Indians now seek out options that align with their values. By supporting businesses that make a positive impact, consumers are shaping a more sustainable future.
Vocal for local
Another interesting change was when Indians came together to support local businesses. Neighbours became customers, and local vendors became heroes. Recognizing the importance of thriving local economies, consumers flocked to nearby stores and embraced hyper-local delivery services. The sense of community strengthened as individuals rallied behind their neighbourhood businesses, fostering a renewed appreciation for the value they bring to our lives.
According to Accenture’s 16th annual research report, which surveyed over 25,000 consumers across 22 countries, 71 per cent of respondents changed their behaviours and values due to the pandemic. They have reevaluated what matters most in their lives and the environment. As a result, their buying decisions, including what they purchase, how they shop, and why they buy, have been directly impacted.
Navigating the new consumer landscape
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped consumer behaviour in India and all around the world. Driving a wave of digital transformation, health consciousness, remote work adaptation, conscious consumption, local support, and cost-consciousness. As businesses and marketers, it’s crucial to understand and adapt to these evolving consumer behaviours in order to forge a resilient and consumer-centric future.
Written by Partho Dasgupta. The writer is former CEO of BARC India and presently Managing Partner, Thoth Advisors