Consumer Trends

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#TrendSpotted: The rise of collective consciousness – social media users becoming sensitive to the needs of strangers

It is no news that our social media timelines are flooding with friends, family, strangers spreading the messages of covid resources, sourcing Remdesivir, vials and ICU beds for patients they haven’t probably met or even heard of.

Social media has become a platform for crisis handling, not only for governments, but also for ordinary citizens like you and me. The mishandling of the pandemic by the central government of the country has led citizens to come together and join forces to fight the virus. A sense of collective consciousness is being seen in ways people are donating to fight covid, helping strangers in whatever way possible and urging others to do so.

Never before has the country seen such solidarity among its citizens on social media. People who would generally flaunt their lifestyle, academic accomplishments, personal accomplishments have taken a conscious step to not do so during the second wave of covid.

My LinkedIn timeline is filled with people looking for job and others commenting on it with leads. Instagram story line is filled with people asking for leads for a friend’s brother for ICU beds in Delhi, for vials for a stranger in Hyderabad, for food delivery services in Indore etc. Entrepreneurs on Twitter have collated pan India covid resources consisting of hospital beds, contact information of local authorities, food delivery services, Remdesivir leads etc. Employers on LinkedIn are helping affected employees and their families and have announced 4-day work week to cope with the mental and physical effects of the pandemic.

Social media which was the platform to announce, flaunt and rub one’s accomplishments and privileges, has turned into a community for help, for assistance and for empathy. People are consciously not posting about their good days on social media because of the fact that many are not lucky enough to even survive this year.

Re-rise of collectivism

Is our social media, then, turning into a collective community? Does this mean that whenever the state fails us, we users, will turn to each other for help? Could this alter the way urban users share things online? Does this mean that social media users are re-instigating collectivism?

Even after the pandemic subsides, users are going to be conscious about what they post. The collective consciousness will still prevail. Does this mean that our society is turning a bit selfless? Should brands then offer products and services which promote group loyalty and collectivism? Should brands focus on ‘we’ more rather than ‘I’?

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#TrendSpotted: Have-Nots becoming more vocal against the privilege of the ‘haves’

From billionaires adding numbers to their income to the privileged roaming and socializing without the worry of contacting the virus, the debate of Haves vs Have Nots has only risen amidst the announcement of second lockdown in various cities and towns.

While the debate always existed, it has now taken the turn towards the matter of life and death. The Haves have always had more of everything, but never has the discussion of the Haves having more access to life been in the limelight. If anything, until a few years ago, the Have-Nots aspired to be like the ‘Haves’. However, their discomfort with the system started becoming palpable. With the Modi Government coming into power, the Have-Nots started questioning the status-quo. This was further dialed up with the popularity Kangana Ranaut garnered by standing up to the industry-biggies.

However, the second wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic in India has started to verbalize and call out the ‘Haves’ for showing their privilege when others are distressed.

The screenshots represent the Have Nots facing acute shortage of medical and financial help when the privileged class sits in the comfort of its wealth.

The conversations and memes posted on social media are a clear shift in the chatter turning to the Have Nots raising the questions of equality, social justice and the widening economic gap. The under privileged are seriously questioning the social significance attached to the privileged class and to the respect attached to wealth, money, upward class mobility and the power that comes with it. The Haves are realizing that opulence of wealth and vanity is not the real power anymore, and that power, is up for grabs.

Does this mean that the culture of opulence, abundance and wealth creation might take a shift towards genuine societal care and charity? We think that the ‘Haves’ will now have to find a different way to enjoy their wealth in private and not flaunt their privilege. They would also have to find a different way to fulfill their status and self-esteem needs. Would this give rise to more exclusive apps like Clubhouse? Can brands create products for discreet consumption? Will the symbols of status – wealth, branded apparels and accessories, travel become more altruistic and represent charity, helping others and staying humble? Will brands start betting on conspicuous consumption and create offerings which symbolize more by having less?

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From You to Me!

Healthcare and overall wellbeing are becoming extremely important to everyone. This can be seen in the rise of fitness influencers, fit-tech platforms and different formats of exercise and diets catering to every kind of audience, leaving no room for excuses.

Emerging trends in healthcare

Consumers are treating their bodies like an ecosystem and are seeking solutions that complement their health and evolving needs. That being said, there are a few trends that stand out:

  • The Rise of Urgent Care
    While the world moves toward instant gratification with the advent of social media platforms, you see its impact even on healthcare. No longer are people willing to meet a physician or healthcare specialist if they can’t get an appointment within a week. In fact a week is also too long for most. Hence, the rise of urgent care. More and more people are walking into OPDs of hospitals, instead of taking appointments in order to start treatment immediately (even for the issues that do not need immediate care). 
  • Greater accountability for one’s own health:
    What’s also interesting is the rise in demand for sophisticated, affordable, convenient and transparent yet personalized services. With information being available literally at a person’s fingertips, consumers are becoming more discerning and demanding. In a recent PwC consumer survey, almost half of respondents said they would consider having procedures like wound treatment, stitches or staples removed at a retail clinic or pharmacy. One-third said they would get an MRI at a retail venue. The underlying message is that patients are accepting greater accountability for their health.
  • Highly customized solutions
    Gone are the days when one size fits all. Our lifestyles are different, our food habits are different, our body types are different. And this is exactly what the healthcare industry needs to focus on – complete personalization of healthcare and wellness routines. Whether the customization is based on your lifestyle or your blood type, consumers are demanding solutions that are tailor-made for them and this demand will only grow with time. 
  • More natural, less toxic
    Today, there is an environment crisis globally and Gen Z is at the forefront of this conversation. This concern for the environment is being reflected in the way people view health and wellness. They are seeking natural solutions with low environmental impact like moving towards more traditional medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani, etc. They are also more open to trying alternate forms of healing like Accupressure, Accupunture, Cupping, Yoga, etc. As we move back to our roots, the demand for such alternate therapies will only increase.  

Healthcare and Wellness brands will need to now focus on the consumer instead of the product and solving unmet consumer needs. With technology and knowledge empowering us today, we can build sustainable ecosystems for healthcare. What do you think?

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OTT platforms facilitating the Democratization of Entertainment

Be it for rural audiences or urban; sports lovers or fantasy fiction; OTT platforms in India are out to ensure that there’s more than something for everyone! 

There already exist over 30 OTT platforms in the country. And now, with Jio launching its own app, rural audiences are further being brought into the fold. In fact, Zee5 has built a custom app for KaiOS powered Jio phones that caters only to the rural audience. Zee and Jio already have a deal in place which allows Jio to stream 37 channels of the Zee network absolutely free of cost to the Jio users. 

Hotstar set the global streaming record with 18.6 Mn concurrent users watching the IPL finals. While this number will be difficult to beat (unless India and Pakistan play the 2019 World Cup Finals), Hotstar amongst other OTT platforms will definitely see a rise. The GOT finale has also contributed to this trend.  

This also gives a chance to content creators to create immersive experiences for audiences. A series like Black Mirror on Netflix allowed viewers to choose the ending of the story. This not only gives the series an initial marketing push, it allows the viewers to form communities, have debates and discussions as to which story line is better. With most viewers watching the same show repeatedly to explore different story lines, repeat impressions are almost guaranteed. 

Hotstar celebrates after record breaking views on IPL

Hotstar’s celebratory post on LinkedIn after IPL

What does this mean for marketers?

A large part of marketers’ media budgets will be focused on digital OTT spends. Whether you engage in a  CPCV (cost per completed view) model or a CPM model, OTT has the ability to drive impact. The inventory is of course getting expensive (from a digital media standpoint) but the avenues of advertising are opening up. Even if a brand does not have a lot of media monies, they can consider a hardcore organic strategy by using a platform like Twitter. Which brand will do it in the Indian market? Only time will tell.

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