Assuming that lockdown opens in early May, I don’t think anyone of us are going to be getting onto a plane anytime soon, or for that purpose venturing into a mall or theatre. So what will the “new normal” be like, for all of us, in the near future? Here are my thoughts :
- Lower Consumption
The last 6 weeks have taught us that we can live life in 3 pairs of jeans and 6 T–shirts. So the question that comes to mind is why do I need a wardrobe full of clothes if I can manage life with much lesser. Overall consumerism will decrease.
- Home Schooling
Education across all levels will be imparted online and homeschooling will be the new norm. Children will to schools only once a while, for group activities or for building social skills. Knowledge gets transferred via Zoom videos
- Work From Home
Service industries that don’t require physical touch with goods or people, will start moving to a WFH model. Saves office rent and associated costs. And for the employee reduces commute time and associated hassles
- WFH Benefits Rural India
2 decades back, US started outsourcing work to India to get a cost benefit. Now, Mumbai-Delhi-Bengaluru will start outsourcing work to the rest of India to get the same cost benefit. If I can run a business on a WFH model, why do I need to hire someone in Mumbai, if I can find the same talent at half the cost, say in Bhavnagar or in Trivandrum.
- Commercial Real Estate Collapse
Residential real estate market was already under pressure. Now, on account of WFH, we will see commercial businesses reduce their office size requirements. This will put further pressure on the commercial real estate market
- Digital Transformation Accelerates
Every business will now see the need to build a robust digital-driven delivery-capability. This will accelerate digital transformation. Every CEO will now see merit in making these investments
- Health Check Besides Security Check
Security check is mandatory while boarding a flight or while going to a hotel or a mall. We will now see one additional layer of checks : health check. Malls and hotels will start using temperature scanners. And travel may require certificate of vaccination.
- Stronger Will Become Stronger
The current economic disruption will make those with a strong balance sheet, stronger. They will be able to manage cash flows in this situation, and then procure resources at a lower cost. Correspondingly, an inline with Darwanian theory of evolution, the weak will need to exit or reorganize their business model
- Sports on TV
Getting into a stadium to watch a live sport (or any such event), is still a long way off. But we will see players getting onto the field to play a competitive sport and same is broadcast on TV and digital. In any case the big bucks were coming from TV. Same will happen for other events. Only the participants will gather. The audience will watch it remotely
- Era Of Personalised Marketing
We will see a new era of personalized marketing. What used to happen door-to-door once upon a time, will now happen on scale. Right product, right time, right context. No-wastage-media will be the new mantra.
- Leisure Travel Will Take a Beating
Long distance travel will be limited to only the must-travel situations or business needs. General purpose leisure travel will be restricted to local geography
- Govt becomes e-government
Governments will start initiating delivery of all its services using online channels. Everyone already has an Aadhar card or PAN card, that uniquely identifies a person. Whether it be a visa interview or a court case, everything happens online
- Automated Production Acceleration
There will be a faster shift to automation in the manufacturing sector. If humans are home, the machines can keep running our supply chain.
- World Tilts Towards Chindia
Irrespective of the negative sentiment that is being drummed up against China, once the dust settles on Covid-19, the centre of economic power will shift towards China and India. US and Europe are going to be taking a far bigger battering in this economic downcycle