Online consumption and shopping patterns changed in the face of the coronavirus lockdown, say Tiivra Ventures founder Alpana Parida and Way Beyond Media co-founder, Meenakshi Menon. In a session on Smart Living for Business Today India's Most Powerful Women 2020 event the entrepreneurs said that they have witnessed certain changes in consumption pattern but questioned its longevity.
Parida said that shopping behaviour has changed with online retail serving as the lifeline for essential supplies during the pandemic lockdown. She added that the lockdown gave a huge fillip to online shopping the way demonetisation had boosted online payments. Parida said that this change is now shaping up many things and newer opportunities.
Talking about appliances and gadgets that helped them live smartly, Parida and Menon spoke about the dishwasher. Alpana Parida said the roomba probably was also one such gadget. However, Menon pointed out that sales of appliances such as roomba and dishwasher might have taken off amid the pandemic but it is not sustainable. "Once the lockdown relaxed and domestic helps started resuming work, people felt relieved at the seemingly return of the normal life. There has been a great change in consumption patterns, however. For instance you don't need formal clothes if you are not stepping out. Lot of things like this are likely to stay in place," she said.
There are however challenges in India when it comes to smart living as there would always be inconsistent supply of electricity and water, they said.
Menon also said that there will probably be fundamental changes in ownership and acquisition. "Will things go back to normal if COVID ends? Millennials who never grew up imagining any difficulties in life will be wired differently now. Self-reliance is important," she said.
Meenakshi Menon said that personal consumption might have taken off because one needs certain things for survival, but social consumption is zero. "There have been changes in familial relations -- can keep in touch, bring together family online anytime -- one does not need to personally move about. Family meets can be done online where there is no limit, you can add any number of members," she said.
They spoke about how the lockdown brought about changes in one's life in phases. First phase was when people realised that things are going to change for the foreseeable future, second phase was when people braced up for the change, third phase is where we are now -- the new normal, she said.