COVID-19: Indian businesses switch line of operations with changing market trends

Pandemic lockdown to control the spread of novel COVID-19 led to unprecedented shut down of business operations across various sectors in India, resulting in a deep collapse of the economy in the past few weeks. With the Modi government allowing economic activities after more than two months of restrictions, the Indian business industry is witnessing a shift in the line of operations in a bid to sustain profits and survive in the post-pandemic recovery. Seizing new opportunities, various companies, be it small or big, are transforming their business models to navigate the ongoing crisis.

Sectors such as healthcare, technology and essential services are observing a sharp rise in demand in the new normal. Many of these businesses are diversifying themselves to meet the market needs in the current environment.

Big and small companies across the Indian states are utilising the current opportunities in the healthcare sector and have changed their business channels temporarily into manufacturing in-demand products such as sanitisers, masks, PPE suits and cardboard beds for quarantine centres in a bid to recover their losses and protect themselves from closures.

According to market research conducted by Nielsen, more than 150 new players entered the market of hand sanitiser just in March. Reportedly, more than 400 garment manufacturers in the country have drifted their operations in making PPE, masks and gloves in the past weeks. Making most of the opportunity, alcohol makers have also ventured into manufacturing hand sanitisers.

According to a TOI report, Gujarat-based Aryan Papers, which deals in the carton packaging and other paper-related products, started producing easy-to-assemble cardboard beds to be used in makeshift hospitals in quarantine centres. Speaking to media, the owner of the company stated that they have supplied more than 10,000 cardboard beds since the launch.

Furthermore, more than 50% of Indian startups are also oscillating to new business opportunities with a focus on technological development, as per a recent Nasscom survey. For instance, a Chandigarh-based startup is working on revamping the Indian education curriculum through robotics-based learning. With the change in consumption patterns, businesses are attempting to expand their digital presence. Fitness startupCureFit recently started a variety of online classes due to prolonged closure of gyms and fitness centres in the wake of the lockdown.

A number of Indian companies are also rebranding their existing offerings to lure in customers and earn revenues. For instance, Mother Dairy recently launched turmeric flavoured drink that it asserts helps boost immunity against the COVID-19. A Tamil Nadu-based research faculty has reportedly developed a foot-operable sanitiser dispenser machine which allows users to disinfect their hands without touching the bottle. Many companies are manufacturing such marketable products and cash in on the pandemic situation. Through such initiatives, a lot of companies are also aiming at keeping their staff members employed and secured during a difficult time.

Significantly, many business owners were incurring losses and feared closure of their companies with their erstwhile regular products which led to the drastic rearrangement of business operations in the Indian market. Earlier in May, experts predicted that India’s economy will face its worst recession in 40 years due to the pandemic shut down. According to a report by rating agency Crisil, the predicted contraction in the economy in the current financial year in India will have a paramount impact on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across sectors.

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