COVID-19 – The New Normal

COVID-19 – The New Normal

As the expectation of the lockdown coming to an end becomes a part of our daily lives, the economy quietly moves towards a new normal. A lot of these

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As the expectation of the lockdown coming to an end becomes a part of our daily lives, the economy quietly moves towards a new normal. A lot of these changes, although quite disruptive, are here to stay. The general consensus about the timeline for the development of an effective vaccine for the same being at least a year into the future, a tectonic shift is expected to come about in the way people handle their expenditures.
Measures such as social distancing, designated ‘hot spots’, restrictions on travel will affect consumer behaviour and change it completely. As customer’s loyalty becomes dictated by safety standards, businesses become more and more conscious about maintaining the minimum levels of safety and health.
In such circumstances, people’s needs will overshadow their wants and people will resort to lesser impulse purchases. Sale of luxury goods will also take a hit, as well as the consumption of any non-essential goods.
Businesses will be impacted in a way where they are bound to place primary emphasis on sustainability and not growth. Individuals and organizations facing a high degree of financial leverage will come under a lot of stress. During this time, external capital will be difficult to obtain, and hence, the start-ups driven by venture capital will be forced to look beyond such sources.
For physical, as well as online businesses to survive, they have to quickly implement effective social distancing and hygiene measures. In such a scenario, millions of people are bound to lose their jobs and will be forced to look at alternative sources of income.
Anything that violates social distancing norms will become a taboo in such a situation. This includes avenues for mass entertainment, such as malls, theatres, restaurants, bars, clubs and concerts, as well as mass transit measures including carpooling and other forms of public transportation. This will force the taxi-based businesses to remodel and thereby increase the fares.
The airline, hospitality, travel, oil export, as well as other export-oriented businesses are already caught in the crossfires of an economic meltdown. In this case, domestic manufacturing and consumption will become the key to the survival of industries as economies will become more ‘closed’ in nature, thereby shunning the ‘global village’ concept.
Although the situation so far has been grim, it presents a huge opportunity for new industries that seek to venture into the domestic marketing sector. Job creation in this scenario is going to be highly dependent on the ‘Make in India’ along with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ schemes.
The future of the pandemic is sure to have a lasting effect on our lives; hence it is important that we address it as a phenomenon that is not transient. This situation conforms to Darwin’s theory – the industries which will adapt and evolve will survive, while the others will perish.

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