Preventive healthcare, supported by immunity-building products, cloud-enabled telemedicine, consumer durables like washing machines and dishwashers and the increased use of branded food items, are part of the new normal. They also offer business opportunities, amidst the unfolding crisis an ASSOCHAM- PRIMUS Partners’ joint report has said.
The report based on brainstorming of industry experts, health professionals and drug regulators, noted several unfolding consumption patterns which mostly point towards safety concerns, ease of living at home and workplaces even as the economy has mostly been opened.
It indicated that telemedicine had gained prominence. Telehealth is the delivery of health and related services such as medical care, patient education, and self-care through digital communication. The Central Government has introduced the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines since March 2020. ”In recent months, large hospitals have moved towards telemedicine, which supports people in managing several of their health issues at home, easing overburdened hospitals,” said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr Deepak Sood.
There would also be an emergence of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), wherein a patient’s vital signs would be monitored and stored on the cloud, allowing doctors to access his health statistics easily.
The report noted that given the rise in immunity consciousness, immune supplements are expected to witness an uptick. Consumers are now rethinking their health habits and prioritizing vitamin products, including C, D, and multivitamins with immune support.
In the coming times, the products and services that make people more independent will witness an increase in demand. Items like washing machines and dishwashers would be in demand to reduce dependence on support staff for household chores. The role of offline stores is likely to change, focusing on experience and collection. Consumers would avoid crowds and prefer to ‘buy and pay online, maybe pick-up in-store’.
The rising fear of infection would drive consumer behaviour across segments, especially the purchase of food commodities.
In India, the bulk of the food commodities had been not sold in branded retail packaging. While the trend has improved over time, a large proportion continues to be sold loose – wheat, rice, pulses, spices, etc. “Branded food commodities are expected to witness an increased demand owing to the perception of quality, hygiene, safety standards and source credibility. Customer re-assurance on these parameters will help create a more robust organized segment for food products”, the ASSOCHAM -Primus Partners’ report stated.