The past 21 months have changed the course of history. It takes 21 days to build a habit; imagine what 21 months might have changed? Until two years back, studying or working remotely would never have been considered productive. Fast forward to today, remote or hybrid work and education culture has become a part of the new norm, and the world as we know it has changed for our lifetime.
Over this period, individuals, private companies, and government institutions have adopted several new-age changes. From shifting to digital platforms to promoting cashless transactions, the world has gone through extreme modifications that now appear to be promoting a permanent behavioral shift.
Against this backdrop, here are some trends fuelled by new-age businesses that can lead to systemic changes in our lives:
The price of convenience: The increasing importance of time and elevated access and communication models have led to enhanced comfort. Delivery models (from foodtech to groceries to medicines) targeting doorstep delivery will remain cemented in our buying pattern. Instant gratification with 10-minute delivery models will ultimately subside, either with plummeting funding backup to support businesses that aren’t profitable or the decreasing marginal utility of immediate fulfillment for household needs.
2. Preventive health: Rising concerns and lifestyle shifts in confluence with Gen Z and Gen Alpha will witness greater spending on preventive healthcare. Burgeoning startups will focus on developing more evolved fitness trackers, preventive screening for diseases and monitoring, and corrective direction via health apps tracking lifestyle diseases. By default, fitness comes into focus with more at-home/ DIY fitness training options available to a user, which measure the intensity of training and track goals along one’s fitness journey to achieve quantifiable outcomes.
3. Living beyond paychecks: The generational shift in India from a savings economy to a consumption economy is largely funded by models such as Buy Now Pay Later, digital lending, new credit cards, payment startups providing ease of payments, and cashback/offers with increasing spending. The restriction to spend based on monthly income or budget is slowly changing. It will continue as our emerging economy witnesses an onslaught of spending avenues.
4. Asset classes for investing: The rise of wealth management apps and crypto exchanges indicates the appetite for expanding asset classes beyond traditional investing options ranging from fixed deposits to real estate. The democratisation of views via social media and access to data around investing leads to an expanding base of investors entering and growing in the public markets. Over the next decade, we will witness the maturing of newer asset classes such as cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and fractional real estate.
5. Learning: Education in India is at an inflection point. The current cohort of students is going beyond classroom learning. Parents view trends such as coding (a newly acquired skill at a young age for modern India) and the need for extracurricular learning favorably. Music, cognitive thinking development, and upskilling to truly compete in a more global environment will see new unicorns in Education 2.0
6. The future of our children: Growing concerns about the future of our next generation have been fuelled by degrading air quality, water scarcity, and climate change. A more conscious approach to daily living may be desirable, but its affordability remains questioned. Adopting hydrogen as a fuel, cheaper technology for developing electric vehicles, and developing a circular economy requires collaboration among various stakeholders for commercial viability at scale.
7. Social commerce: Options of employment via social commerce models have become more lucrative while providing flexible hours to micro-entrepreneurs. Community influence largely affects buying behaviour in a market flooded with product options. Social commerce should sustain in micro markets given the added benefit of efficient and environmentally conscious logistics.
8. Metaverse: A continuous development of an alternate reality (with ever-changing nomenclature) is becoming more real as we’ve be en constrained inside our homes. With climate changes and many more pandemic cycles ahead, the metaverse may end up being our way of finding connections and building our social identity.
9. Security: An increased online presence ranging from our social to financial identity on the web (and now the developing metaverse) has led to a heightened need for stricter measures around cybersecurity. As data gets more distributed, the ability to monetise our data may exist if the choice to share evolves further.
Even without the pandemic, we would have continued to evolve. But, undoubtedly, COVID-19 has played the role of a catalyst that accelerated the growth of many startups tenfold. However, the threat landscape has also magnified with constantly evolving technology, need-space, and the ever-growing startup ecosystem. Agility to keep up with change, detailed execution and solid teams would define winners who would capitalise on these shifting consumer trends.
–Author Neha Khanna is Director at ValPro. View expressed are personal
(Edited by : Bivekananda Biswas)
First Published: IST