“Crisis can be sort of a catalyst or can speed up changes that are on the way — it almost can serve as an accelerant,” said Arun Sundararajan, an NYU Stern School of Business professor researching how digital technologies transform society. This is the time of distress. People are losing their jobs; some are being denied their salaries and some have been laid off. This isn’t the right time for a person’s well-being. A person who is independent can not fulfill his commitments.
India’s urban unemployment rate is at its peak and is soaring high. There are plenty of firms who can function on virtual basis but some of them cannot. Startups that provide flight and hotel bookings have naturally been the worst-hit. The gig-economy firms including Ola, Uber and Airbnb, too, are seeing a drop in demand. Co-working spaces in Bengaluru and Gurugram have already seen a fall in attendance since last week. All these sectors will suffer more in coming weeks with the travel sector likely to see a fall for many months to come. Social distancing is the need of the hour but some firms are drowning in the sea of losses during this time. People who are always “on site” duty, can simply not function during this time. Others who belong to IT based companies, are working with utmost peace at the comfort of their homes.
Companies generating content: There has been high demand for content during this time. Websites like Netflix, amazon prime and hotstar witnessed a sudden spike in the demand. It became unbearable for them to manage so they decided to stream only SD content on mobile devices. They are expected to have huge amounts of profits during this time. People who run blogs are also witnessing large surge in the people visiting their website. The traffic on every channel is increasing. Youtubers are witnessing high number of viewers for their content.
Online Gaming Segment: Online gaming startups in India are at their all-time high. According to a report by Google-KPMG, the online gaming segment is pegged at $1.1 billion by 2021. India comes among the top five mobile gaming markets in the world. And with the Covid-19 lockdown, the online gaming market in India is witnessing a skyrocketing increase in user engagement. International games such as Houseparty and Psych have emerged as one of the most-played games during the quarantine period. In fact, their user engagement has reached a level that users are experiencing lags in the interface of Psych.
According to Nanda, it is mostly the multiplayer games such as Carrom, Ludo and Royal Battle that have seen a spike in users since the lockdown, where people appear to be playing more with their friends and family. “60% of the people who play our games come from the age-group of 18 to 25, mostly males. However, amid the lockdown, we see an increase in users from the age group of 25-35. A marginal increase in female traffic has also been observed,” he said.
Video Conferencing Apps: Video conferencing is the new way of conducting board meetings, hold lectures and in some cases, have exams. Apps such as Zoom, Google classroom and many more are seeing a surge in the demand. The CEO for zoom app has said that he never imagined that his app would generate so much traffic and hold so much value at a point in time.
Insurance Startups: insurance startups are seeing a sharp increase in demand, and in most cases, this is translating into actual business as some startups have begun offering products to cover the Covid-19 treatment cost. Earlier this month, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India asked insurance providers to introduce policies to cover treatment costs for the disease.
Digital Payments Sectors: startups which were earlier not doing so great can expect a surge in demand now. The country is promoting use of internet payments as the virus can sustain even on paper. About 38% of consumers now see contactless as a basic need or feature of payments, up from 30% a year ago.
FMCG, OTT and E-Commerce: Some sectors which have seen higher demand ever since the virus outbreak are pharmaceuticals, FMCG, OTT platforms and e-commerce. The FMCG sector has performed fairly well on the domestic stock markets amid widespread panic-buying the country. All companies in the sector including Nestle, HUL, ITC, P&G, Godrej Consumer, Dabur, Amul and others are set to gain big amid the sudden gush of demand. A Nielsen report shows that there has been heavy stockpiling of not only essential food items but also indulgence items like biscuits, chocolates, salty snacks and cookies. There have been issues in the FMCG sector too. There are major supply chain issues in the country. States have sealed their borders which makes it impossible for these companies to have a smooth supply of goods.
Medical Equipment Companies: It may be noted that at least 15 firms received permission from the government to produce PPEs or personal protective equipment including Arvind Mills, JCT Mills Phagwara, Amare Safety, Mumbai-based Sure Safety, Delhi-based Sai Synergy, Manchanda, and Shree Healthcare, Chennai. All of these companies have been given permission by the government to produce surgical gloves, goggles, hand sanitiser, clinical dump bags, blood and fluid spill kits, mask fit test kits and thermometers, said the report.
Groceries at home: Various companies have emerged with new grocery section on their online platforms. Many online grocery delivery services are now being joined by major e-commerce companies Flipkart and Amazon, who are delivering only essential goods in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It won’t be surprising if all these companies see an exponential rise in their profits during the period of lockdown.
Some industries which were not explored much earlier, are being used highly now. This is a huge chance for them to create a market stake for themselves. If they come out as a successful company right now, they can very well sustain themselves after this pandemic.