Coronavirus Impact: Essential Products Cope with Amplified Demand & Services with Adaptable Alternatives

By – S. Jadhav

The outbreak of the COVID-19 has deeply dented the global economy, with even superpowers such as the United States and developed nations in Europe failing to effectively tackle the situation. Millions of people across the world have been compelled to change their lifestyle habits as the deadly virus weighs on growth. Keeping public interest in mind, nations have implemented largescale lockdowns as a measure to flatten the curve.

Lockdowns imply restricted movement. However, in this increasingly digital world, people have altered their direction on technology to carry out their daily activities effectively. For instance, workspaces and study rooms have gone virtual, and this has led to major adoption of apps providing these services. Additionally, amidst healthcare, certain products have witnessed a sharp rise in consumption.

Essential Products Cope with Amplified Demand and Services with Adaptable Alternatives

Inkwood Research has listed Products that have Witnessed a Major Jump in Sales:

  • Hand Sanitizers:

A hand sanitizer is a liquid or gel applied on to the hands, to kill the microbes unapparent to the human eye. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have therefore witnessed a rise in popularity with the growing spread of Coronavirus. Apart from hand sanitizers, other related products, such as hand-washes and disinfectant liquids, have witnessed a spurt in their sales.

  • Face Masks:

Face masks are used as protective gear against the transmission of the virus. A person infected with COVID-19 may not necessarily display any symptoms of the disease in the earlier few days. Therefore, it becomes crucial to wear masks, as for the time being, prevention seems the only solution. The sales of protective surgical and cloth masks have gone notches higher in the last few weeks.

  • Pharmaceutical Products:

Medicines fall under the category of essential items, especially for those suffering from chronic diseases. People with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, which has led to the excessive hoarding of pharmaceuticals.

  • Groceries:

There has been a massive rise in the demand for grocery and other daily essential items. People in several countries are reported to have stocked groceries, leading to a huge demand-supply gap. All these items have been swiftly wiped off supermarket shelves. Consumers have therefore turned to mobile apps for grocery delivery, which has stupendously benefited the e-commerce industry. Also, some of the companies offering this service have made online payments mandatory to ensure ‘no-contact delivery.’

As mentioned earlier, the demand for certain services has also soared. The pandemic has instilled fear in people’s psyche regarding their health, and with insurance companies providing cover for COVID-19, a large section of the masses has signed up for this facility.

There is a rising need for enhanced communication in these times as ‘work-from-home’ becomes more of a norm than the exception. The usage of video conferencing apps, such as Zoom, has skyrocketed. According to the company’s CEO, Eric Yuan, the number of daily users of the app crossed over 200 million people in March.

The ongoing situation has also opened up several growth avenues for companies functioning in the EdTech domain. While the western part of the world has long embraced e-learning technology, online learning apps are now gaining traction in India. School closures have resulted in a surge in the adoption of e-learning apps and platforms, so as to compensate for the educational loss.

Also, the ongoing lockdown has given people ample time for leisure. Therefore, entertainment and gaming platforms have experienced a steep rise in usage. Movie streaming service providers, such as Netflix and Hulu, have registered a growth in the number of user subscriptions during this period. People’s social media consumption has also increased, and these platforms have been instrumental in generating awareness about COVID-19.

Considering the above factors, it can be said that the buyer persona during a crisis gets divided into two major sections – one for essential products & services, and the other for the non-essential ones. In such times, the essential items & services witness a rise in demand; whereas, the latter have to bear the brunt of the situation.

It must be noted that the most prominent result considering the change in consumer behavior is the shift from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online retail. Another trend that has been observed is the change in the buying pattern of the consumers due to bulk buying and panic buying. This also shows that well-off consumers have been lenient on their pockets during this time, so as to ensure they have enough stock if the situation worsens, and also have access to high-quality products.

That being said, it cannot be guaranteed that the consumer mindset will remain the same once the crisis is effectively dealt with. In fact, as the world gradually returns to normalcy, the sales of non-essential items may also shoot up, owing to the lack of availability of these items at present. Only time will reflect the impact of the pandemic and its stains. Until then, the consumer psyche will continue to respond to the latest developments as several changes continue to play out during this period.