Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic On Consumer Behaviour, And Its Implications On The Residential Home Market In India!
With people staying at home, the consumer behaviour changed on many fronts. Overall, the people felt the need to get more comfort, greater convenience, and higher safety in everything they did.
Some of the aspects were visibly evident like the ‘load on electricity consumption’ going-up across the globe. Staying at home meant higher financial cost. The electricity consumption went up depending on the lifestyle patterns. For instance, those who work in air conditioned environments witnessed increased bills at home, since their air-conditioning units remained switched-on while at home.
In a pre-COVID pandemic scenario, many people spent approximately 10 to 12 hours at work including commute time. This window of time suddenly became available-at-home. So, while staying at home the entire time, most people needed electricity to support a comfortable environment at home.
Same happened with the children, who had to depend on laptops for their online classes. Purchase of laptops and other electrical gadgets went up considerably. Plus, their inability to meet other children to play meant they had more time to spend in front of their television playing games. This meant more electricity consumption to study and even play at home. The result has been that we need more energy efficient devices to cut-down on electricity bills.
The electricity consumption went up since people started cooking at home, and use of microwave ovens and other electrical kitchen-appliances also went up.
Once, the lockdowns were lifted, home-deliveries through ‘on-line shopping’ came as a respite to the consumer community.
Overall, there was a lot of new habits that were formed in Indian consumer communities in the post-pandemic era
The Most Visible Changes Witnessed In The General Buyer-Behaviour Of Indians In The Post Covid Pandemic
1. Use of energy efficient devices
- Buying cooking devices and appliances that save on time e.g. oven, cooking appliances
- Energy efficient LED lighting and TVs instead of old bulbs and plasma TVs
- Buying energy efficient, disinfectant air-conditioning units. Energy efficient air-conditioning units with 5-star rating can save lots of money
- Cost of ownership of a 5-star rating air conditioning unit is much lesser than 2 or 3 star AC. You end up saving 20% more on electricity bill. So, if the monthly bill on air conditioning is Rs 10,000, then you end up saving Rs 2,000 if you buy a 5-star AC as compared to a 3-star AC
- Us of roof-top solar-energy digital panels
- Powering down electrical equipment, when not in use
- Automation to cause electricity consumption to be on auto-cut-off mode as per pre-determined settings or sensor-based turning them off
- Buying high-performing laptops
- Looking for digital entertainment options at home e.g. Netflix, Prime, Video games, indoor games etc.
2. Increased use of digital tools that offer convenience and comfort
- Shifting to digital platforms for day-to-day needs like buying groceries, daily-needs, medicines to avoid commute
- Use of multiple apps for eateries, and home deliveries
- Health focussed apps
3. Reduction in mobility patterns, and dependency on home-deliveries
- Lesser use of public or own transport with more remote working lifestyle
- Food-items were ordered on-line with huge dependency on home-deliveries e.g. Swiggy, Zomato
- The efficiency with which home-deliveries were delivered efficiently on time made life much easier, and new buyer-behaviour patterns emerged
4. Buyers getting comfortable with buying ‘on-line’
- Willingness to take chances for online shopping, and getting comfortable with returns and on-line shopping refunds
- Reliance on picture based choice-making
- Comfort with virtual reality based experiences
5. Increased focus on health
- This includes wearing masks
- Being more hygiene conscious
- Greater focus on health-foods, organic foods
- Outdoor walks in gardens and colonies
6. Seeking more space at home
- Wanting more space at home that allows more functional utility of spaces
- Buying space-saving furniture and fixtures that is multi-utility Furniture that can double-up for more functions, like convertible sofa-cum-bed, foldable work-station
- Avoiding the clutter at home by not buying unnecessary items
- Discarding unused and useless items at home that occupy space
Implication of these behavioural trends on residential homes in India
- Preference of standalone building apartments where you don’t pay more for common amenities, and instead buy more spaces inside the apartment
- Willingness of people to stretch beyond their budgets, and buy more spacious homes for the protection and well-being of their families
- Launching more spacious home with special focus on work and study from home spaces
- Greater demand and preference for 3 BHK units as compared to 2 BHK apartments
- Demand for more spacious builder-floor, where you own the entire floor, and the area is spacious (more than 2000 sft)
- Greater focus on energy-efficient floor plans and designs
- Provisioning for anything in the design that increases comfort and convenience
- Greater focus on ventilation, natural light and social distancing norms
- Builders and architects placing a premium on ‘floor space’
- Providing amenities that are relevant, and keeping health-focussed designs inside the home
These post-COVID pandemic changes in buyer behaviour reflect the resilience of human beings, and the ability to adapt and evolve in the face of adversity!
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”– Steve Maraboli
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