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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.