Even though 2020 was very challenging due to the pandemic, it opened doors for new opportunities and innovation for the consumer durable industry. The first few months of lockdown were more challenging than the latter half of the year and proved to be favorable for those who could adjust to the evolving market realities. Once the unlocking started, it created new demands which led to the emergence of new product innovations. Customer centricity became the foremost priority as the white goods industry innovated new technologies for purification and sanitization, which are inevitable in the new normal.

Many industries have been impacted badly due to the pandemic but, it would be safe to say that the consumer durables industry is showing growth trends from a long-term perspective. According to a report, the home appliances and consumer electronics industry, (not including mobile handsets), is expected to increase by 50 lacs i.e Rs 1.5 lakh crore by 2025, from the present Rs 1 lakh crore. The reasons for the same could be more stable disposable incomes, rural electrification,  more than ever focus on work from home policies, and the government’s plans to offer production-linked incentives (PLI) to establish more and more manufacturing plants in India. With such potential growth opportunity, the industry and the brands are required to keep an extremely close watch on ever-evolving consumer needs, to drive their product innovations, and truly thrive in the post-pandemic world among their competition.

Here are the key consumer durable industry trends that are likely to be witnessed in post-pandemic world:

Trend#1  Innovating Healthcare features within the products

Post pandemic consumers have become health conscious more than ever and want the technology to empower them for that. According to Deloitte, the venture funding for health technology innovators has nearly doubled in 2020 as compared to 2019.

Connected health monitoring devices that help to track the number of vital signs such as:

  1. Heart rate
  2. Blood pressure
  3. Body temperature
  4. Hydration level

The pandemic created an acceleration of funding for innovators with alternative forms of care delivery, such as remote monitoring and virtual health. Virtual health is here to stay and will continue post-pandemic as well, but industry decision-makers will need to find a way to maintain its current speed as in-person visits resume.

Trend#2 Increase in need for automation within products

The lockdown had many people without housemaids which lead them to take care of household chores on their own and managing offices from home at the same time. There was a substantial increase in the amount of time spent on household chores, which led to eating precious time that can rather be spent with family, or on self-development or professional activities. Now consumers are more inclined to invest in automated, technologically superior products that can ease their lives. Product categories such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, dishwashers will see a spike in demand as people aim to become more self-reliant and look for more convenience. Products that provide storage facilities like refrigerators will continue to have more demand as people now look for more storage and less frequent purchase. Cooling products like ACs, Air coolers, Air purifiers will have increased demand as more people would need cooling in multiple rooms, as they continue to work from home.

Brands should consider that the fact that though energy consumption is bound to increase, the consumer will have an eye on energy-efficient products.

Trend#3 Increased Demand for better conferencing Technology

This pandemic has changed work perception across the world and remote work is here to stay. Gone are the days when hiring talents were restricted to geographical constraints. But the only way this kind of setup can work long-term successfully is with uninterrupted conferencing technology. When you can communicate consistently and easily without any interruption, distance doesn’t matter. In the business world, the technologies or the brands that will impact our lives the most, in the next year and coming years will be those that will empower and enable people to shift and adjust to the new work-life balance.

Trend#4 Affordability will play a major role

This pandemic led to many people losing their jobs and pay cuts which happened across all industries and many are still suffering due to the same. Hence consumer durable industries brands will have to focus on cost innovation so that they develop products that offer quality products at an affordable price. In the coming years, we believe consumers will look at value for money products, which are need-based primarily, with quality as a key aspect.

Trend#5 Gaming consoles added joy in pandemic life

Boredom grapples everyone during lockdown where people are restricted to indoors. The major source of entertainment was TV and mobile and the quest for more options was created. Naturally, people got inclined towards old gaming favorites and companies responded with smart twists to old devices and even some new releases in the gaming arena. Gaming devices like the Nintendo Switch console were the most obvious source and have been in huge demand since the beginning of the pandemic. We expect to see a continued focus on great gaming experiences in the coming years as well.

Trend#6 “Make in India” products to gain power

The government has been encouraging to “Make in India”, and has launched several schemes to promote the same. It is believed that this movement will continue to gain further momentum. Indian brands should be independent for the future since consumers too have shown an affinity towards homegrown products.

Trend#7  Technology malfunctions provide CX insights

In a CX report 2021, it was found that malfunctioning technology was one main source of anger in the consumer technology industry. There was a lot of negative conversation around tech brands due to cracked smartphone screens, defective smartwatches, crashing applications, and from this, the other brands can get lessons on how to make their customer experience delightful. Only those brands who will make their customers feel heard along with technological advancements will have an advantage over the competition post-pandemic.

Trend#8  Holding Online and offline presence

The Pandemic may have transformed the buying process from offline to online, but particularly in the white goods industry, there will always remain the need for touch and feel. Post pandemic offline buying experience will again see a considerable boost and hence brands need to strike a balance in the growth of their offline and online presence. They should have an Omni-channel ecosystem for ensuring a smooth buying experience for its consumers whether offline or online.

Trend#9 Innovative Home-centric products are in high demand

According to Google Trends, the search for ‘virtual assistant’ has hit a five-year high recently. Nobody knew what was coming in 2019 and lockdown made us realize how important the perfect home setup is. There has been an ever-increasing rise in demand for innovations ranging from kitchen gadgets that make your life easier to at-home health solutions. Many companies have showcased new home products equipped with artificial intelligence technology, including automated sanitization and cleaning robots at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. In the coming years, we can expect to see more home innovations like this on the market. Demand will continue to rise as consumers are still adapting to the post-Covid world and look for ways to make their life easier.

Trend#10  Shift to alternative, economical and eco-friendly resources

A large percent of Indian households still do not have access to electricity, internet, and neither the capacity to pay high electricity bills. So, the brands should try to create future systems based on alternative resources to cover these markets also and Eco-friendly products should definitely be targeted for the same.

The Consumer Electronics industry in India, which was valued at $10.93 billion in 2019, is expected to reach $21.18 billion by 2025, clearly indicating that the expected growth is humongous. Most of the growth can be attributed to the constant changing and upgrading lifestyle of individuals, increased demand from households, and easier access to credit facilities. Apart from this, there is also a hike in the demand from the rural market as the government continues to invest significantly in electrification and access to the internet.

Consumers now have multiple options to choose from and this has led to multiple growth challenges for consumer electronic companies. The final buying decision for any appliance is dependent on multiple factors including initial awareness, ease of purchase process, online reviews, past experiences with the brand, its value, and much. Hence, the companies have to protect their existing market share and also plan to grow in the face of such uncertainty. CX is going to play the role of key differentiator here and hence, the need for investing in a great customer experience across the buying journey is more important than ever. Companies are forced to rethink and recreate their CX strategy across the various touchpoints in the customer journey right from creating awareness to promoting loyalty and explore the adoption of disruptive technologies to maintain a competitive edge.

Do you know – Worldwide spending on CX technologies is expected to reach $641 billion by 2022 (As per the IDC report).

In this blog, we’ll cover a few of the key challenges that companies are facing and their solutions. 

  1. Driving Customer Loyalty

Considering the fact that most consumer electronics companies sell more than one product, for brands to get maximum revenue from each customer, they’ll have to ensure customers consider them first before going to a different brand. How can companies do that? By promoting customer loyalty. Unfortunately, most consumer electronics companies in the industry are struggling when it comes to driving customer loyalty.

A recent McKinsey study showed that the average loyalty of customers for the industry is less than 20 percent which is considerably low.

How to tackle:

Today companies cannot buy customer loyalty just by giving offers or discounts but instead, they need to focus on delivering great service and effective communication. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Vernacular.ai, over 80 percent of the respondents mentioned that the above two factors play a critical role when buying from the same brand.

Here are a few steps they can you can take to drive customer loyalty-

  1. Enriching Retail Touchpoint CX

Retail touchpoints still are very important and can’t be ignored. In fact, about 75 percent of consumers still prefer to visit an exclusive brand outlet (EBO) or a multi-brand outlet (MBO) to evaluate and compare brands. On average, customers visit two EBOs before making a final purchase and the reason is that live demos, physically viewing, touching, and experiencing products are important and influential at the moment of purchase. Few challenges faced by customers in finding a brand outlet and knowing more about a product from the store are:

  1. Finding the nearest brand outlet – Most of the information available on the website or google searches is scattered and outdated.
  2. Schedule an appointment – Consumers usually need to schedule a visit manually by speaking with the store owner.
  3. Effective Communication – There are very limited channels that consumers can use to communicate with store owners.

How to tackle:

To solve the above problems, companies need to create a simplified mechanism for customers to get all relevant information at ease.  It has to be something that’s suitable for both, tech-savvy and less tech-savvy individuals.

  1. Superior Post Sales Product Servicing Experience

One of the biggest nightmares for customers is to get their products serviced. Where most companies promise to service within a few days, the process ends up taking weeks together and this delay not only creates frustration among users but negatively impacts their brand perception. The reason for the same is, a lot of brands have outsourced their servicing to third-party companies. This has created a communication gap.

How to tackle:

To provide their customers a seamless service experience, companies need to streamline the process. They should first try to make it easy for the user to schedule a service request. One method to do this is by using a single number for scheduling a service appointment, updates, and learn other information as multiple numbers can create confusion and make the process even more cumbersome.

  1. Driving customer-centricity

In the mission to increase their sales, consumer electronics companies have forgotten the importance of being customer-centric. The customer experience provided by most brands post-sales is significantly deteriorating as they take after-sales service as a cost and keep cutting the corners. Brands often forget that a bad experience in claiming a warranty directly impacts key metrics like lifetime value (LTV) and retention.

Today, for brands to succeed, they need to line up their organizations in accordance with the customer’s needs across the various touchpoints. They are required to create those “WOW” moments that customers may cherish for the future. Getting a product replaced/repaired or claiming a product warranty without any hassles with minimum brand interaction is a few of some examples.

Here are few advantages of a customer-centric approach-

  1. Increase in the CLV – Customer Lifetime Value
  2. Edge over competitors
  3. Boost the number of loyal and profitable customers

To avail these advantages, companies need to thoroughly understand the behavior of different customer segments and making necessary changes to their approach.

Voice bots and CX

Voice bots can be used to schedule servicing/demo bookings, locate nearest retail outlets, knowing the status of a product replacement request, and much more. The implementation of voice bots in industries like banking, food & beverages, e-commerce, etc has resulted in increased CSAT scores and a reduction in call handling times.

Conclusion:

It’s crystal clear that apart from creating quality products, consumer electronics companies need to focus on the customer experience. It’s the single most important element that will differentiate their brand from the competition.

Investing in providing a great experience at every stage would not help retain more customers but enhance their overall revenue as well. It goes without saying that automation and the latest technology will play a critical role in helping them achieve these goals and balance human and automated interaction.

In case you wish to deliver superb CX to your consumers, you may book a meeting with us to understand how we have helped consumer electronics companies reduce their customer support costs by up to 75%  or you may reach our sales team @ 9643303884

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