“The boost to technology amid the pandemic scenario”

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By – Arun Prabhudesai, Founder of Armoks Media Private Limited

Agility is the ability to adopt and respond to change. 

Agile organizations and individuals view change as an opportunity and not as a threat

The past eighteen months have seen several path breaking changes and disruptions in our lives. Not just professionally, even personally, every individual has undergone a whirlwind of change and experienced a roller- coaster of emotions. Technology has taken precedence: for businesses, education, shopping, personal development et all. In every aspect of life, we have witnessed a huge intervention of technology and how it is enabling development. 

The pandemic limited movement for people. Venturing outside was forbidden, leading to behavioural changes among consumers with an objective to maintain control on the hygiene of their households through limiting what comes into their home. Therefore, inclusive learning, Omni Channel shopping preferences, online education, online food delivery, rise and growth of e-commerce, consumption of entertainment through OTT platforms, online gaming were imperative and chronicled how technology and digital have ushered in a new era of consumerism. 

Education sector was heavily impacted with millions of children across the globe being forced to stay indoors as schools were immediately shut for prevention and spread of the virus. The future of our ‘future generation’ was uncertain with no engagement with their schools. However, owing to the evolution of technology and the immersion of digital, online education became the most significant conduit for the education sector. A recent report by Technavio states that online education market in India is expected to grow by USD 2.28 billion during 2021-2025, expanding at a CAGR of almost 20%.

In India, e-learning is new to our culture and ethos. Adjusting to the situation has been challenging for students and teachers alike. But as famously quoted, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’, Indians saw this as a huge opportunity and used it to their advantage. As a result, the past few months have seen leading online education platforms gaining unicorn status and becoming top start-ups in the country. This mammoth adoption is a testimony of how the country is embracing newer methods of learning and living life. Not just schooling, but professional learning has also witnessed a positive uptick in the past few months, promoting several professionals to take up courses in order to upskill and harness their talents. 

Online food delivery saw a rampant growth over the past year and a half as the pandemic was a major deterrent to the hospitality industry. Hotels were shut for visitors, outstation travel was nil, as a result of which business for this sector was negatively impacted through the lockdown. The online food delivery market in India is growing with the evolving lifestyle patterns and eating habits of Indians. The market is also witnessing growth on account of the increasing access to high-speed internet facilities and the boost sales of smartphones. Therefore, the Indian online food delivery industry is undergoing a revolutionary phase. It is expected to grow at a staggering CAGR of 28.94% during 2020-2026. Zomato’s IPO recently has paved way for its competitors and other players in the industry to upscale and take bold steps of growth. 

With changing times, consumer behaviour has undergone a paradigm shift. The way people shop and buy has witnessed a drastic transformation. While shopping online has evolved as a preferred option, Omni channel presence of brands helps consumers take informed decisions and resonate better with their favourite brands. Omni channel presence helps brands to cater to a wider audience and provide them with more curated shopping options. The pandemic has resulted in opportunities for businesses to develop hyperlocal delivery models, use conversational AI (artificial intelligence) and build omni-channels to acquire and serve customers. 

Our country’s long-term consumption prospects remain robust as incomes rise and millions join the country’s consuming classes. By 2030, 55% of India’s ‘consuming class’ will spend more than $11 a day in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms and therefore will be able to spend on not only basics like food and housing, but also discretionary items. Digital consumerism will give rise to a new and resilient India that will create dominant footprint in the global domain. 

India is well on the path to achieve the 5 trillion dream set out by our Honourable Prime Minister. In our country’s endeavour to strengthen efforts towards bold structural reforms for all sectors and encourage utilization of technology and digital solutions, we have together evolve and adopt smart solutions. These reforms and revolutionary changes will create a conducive atmosphere for businesses to flourish and attract new investments which in turn, will play a key role in kick-starting the economy of an Atmanirbhar Bharat.