According to the findings of a new global poll from Accenture, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way people live, work, and socialize, increasing demand for innovation as merchants, consumer goods, and travel industries shift from reacting to the problem to reimagining products and services.
After a year of lockdowns, 98 percent of Indian responders to a study indicated they had made at least one permanent adjustment to their lifestyle. Working from home, shifting travel patterns, and a growing desire to shop locally are all forcing businesses to rethink how they cater to the pandemic-affected customer.
The current survey of over 9,650 people in 19 countries, including over 500 in India, backs up Accenture’s prior conclusions that many behavioral improvements will be long-term.
COVID-19 has resulted in compressed transformation, with organizations reforming various sections of the business at the same time and reskilling employees in what would have previously been longer-term step-by-step processes.
Many consumer-facing organizations have re-platformed their operations on the cloud, handled cost challenges, and continued to strengthen resilience and security, laying the groundwork for future success and innovation.
As a result of the epidemic, many employees have expressed a desire for greater flexibility in how and where they work in the future.
In India, more than 87 percent of respondents stated they would want to work from a “third space” – a location other than their home or place of employment – on occasion. This points to a possible revenue opportunity for hospitality and retail businesses.
A shift in attitudes around business travel is accompanying the desire to work from a “third space.” In India, about 57 percent of respondents stated they have no plans to travel for work after the pandemic or that they want to decrease past business travel in half.
It’s unclear how long this viewpoint will hold, but the present picture suggests that travel will continue mostly in the leisure market, forcing the business to adapt and become even more efficient to compensate for lost revenue.
Not only do people believe that some of their work habits and travel plans have likely changed for the better, but they also believe that their buying habits have changed for the better. The new analysis backs up Accenture’s earlier predictions that the rapid growth of e-commerce is expected to continue or accelerate.
For example, since the outbreak in India, the number of formerly occasional e-commerce users – defined as those who used online channels for less than 25% of purchases before the outbreak – has climbed 667 percent for products including food, home décor, fashion, and luxury items.