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17 th Oct 2020

360 Degree Change In The Consumer Needs Post COVID-19

Isolation has shifted from a social epidemic to a social norm, with individual consumers adapting to life in isolation day by day and at different speeds. COVID - 19 changed the landscape from consumer behavior to emerging trends 360⁰ shift in the consumer’s needs.

New Normal is New Buzzword - What is New Normal ?

Social Distancing ≠ Social Isolation

Social distancing measures have shifted focus from Individual to Collective. Community will have new meaning, therefore, connect with consumers in more meaningful way. Global outbreak of COVID has changed the entire landscape of personal care from consumer behaviour to emerging trends. In less than a quarter, there is 360 degree change in the consumer needs across the globe.

COVID-19 brought the future forward

I feel Key Mega Consumer Trends predicted for the upcoming decade accelerated into FOCUS for immediate future due to this pandemic.

Wellbeing : COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of having a healthy immune system, which also includes strong mental health. Products that offer immunity benefits will surge as people look for ways to protect themselves from a second wave or as a way to support their immune system for ongoing protection.

Experiences : Heading into 2020, convenience and 24/7 on-demand services were supreme. As physical and social distancing become the norm, the demand for brands to provide support through collective experiences will grow. Whether at home or not, consumers will be driven to try out new, exciting experiences and will seek out the brands that bring them an opportunity to try them more options with richer experiences.

Identity : Concerns around loneliness as a global epidemic increase at alarming rates. Social media will become a vital resource for consumers who need support and connection. Consumers will emerge from social distancing having been forced to look at themselves in a new way, look around at their priorities, their identity and what's worth returning to once things get back to "normal." We anticipate that consumers will be even more empowered to stand up for the brands and causes that most align with their values. Friend of a Friend of a Friend will lead to Friend-vertexing.

Rights : Public demand for action will peak as more global social movements develop. Activism will have a new meaning, shifting from the individual to the collective. Corporate ethics will no longer be a "nice to have," but a "must have" that will serve as the guiding strategy. Corporations will step up to provide resources. Consumer interest in ethically minded business principles will continue to rise, causing brands to respond with a sense of responsibility.

Surroundings Universal work-from-home policies will expand. Better telecommunication technology will allow for more flexible work conditions. As people have been forced to juggle work, play and relaxation in the same space, many are taking a closer look at just how well the spaces they call "home" serve them and what changes they'd like to make long-term. Localism will resonate with consumers. The unofficial slogan of the crisis, "we're in this together," exemplifies the shared experience and common goal. Brands are responding with messages of "we're here to help" as well as details of how they are supporting employees and customers.

- Consumers will champion their local community businesses and the brands that will be rewarded will be those that get involved in benefiting their communities, rather than just profiting from them.

- Create new ways of working and selling, building flexibility into how you collaborate, innovate and communicate with the communities you serve.

Technology - More technology offerings designed specifically for senior care. Reduced business travel thanks to better video conferencing. As consumers battle with feelings of loneliness and isolation, technology has become a lifeline for consumers wanting to stay connected to loved ones, work remotely and access both shopping and entertainment.

- Consumers will bring with them the demands for greater connectivity, reliability and consistency between their physical and digital worlds.

- Don't wait for consumers to demand more; innovate technologies in anticipation of changing consumer needs.

Value - Consumers will redefine value through the lens. Consumers will move toward slower, minimal consumerism that emphasises durability, protection and functionality. Sustainability will also return as a focus, but now with a newfound mind-set of how purchases impact their neighbours, city and nation. Consumers need facts and guidance now more than ever, emphasizing an increased importance on Quality as a core pillar. Premium will become not just better quality for a higher price (that has become more of an expectation), but will now become that added value that brands must provide to society.

A Year of Innovation 2020 - Consumers seeking out scientifically designed Personal and Home Care solutions

You will be surprised to know the finding that more and more women are seeking out scientifically designed solutions. Importance will be given to immune support and stress relief while purchasing. Products appealing deeply cleanse and protect hair/scalp will have greater demand.

Clean Beauty will become major focus during New Product Development. Clean Beauty means safe, natural, eco-friendly products and will seek more transparency about ingredients.

Consumer will look for safe products for themselves as well as environment. This will bring Greater Change to fight against Climate Change. There will be renewed focus on how science can help tackle climate change. Women are now increasingly looking for science behind ingredients. They are also curious about scientific and synthetic solutions to sustainability issues, driving NPD.

Let us look at few launches mainly based on Innovation, Trends and Science

Unilever-owned Sundial Brands is targeting Gen Z multicultural women. This 'clean beauty' range uses naturals for textured hair

The Pantene Misturinha collection taps into Make it Mine Trend. The customizable 'shots', in three variants, can be mixed with a base mask according to users' needs on any given day.

Reload uses discarded plastic water bottles from the drinks industry. It aligns with Sub-Zero Waste Trend.

The spike in demand of sanitizers inspired number brands an opportunity for Brand Extension.

India’s Cavin Kare launched sanitizer sachet packs priced at INR 1 to make it accessible to all. Players like Nycil, Dabur and ITC have also entered into this space.

Marico launched Veggie Clean for Vegetable Wash.

Veggie Clean, Hand Care, Nose Skin Care are new segments and targeted specialized products are getting launched.

Eco and Natural Claims see fast New Product Development Growth

We have tried to compare the claims of same period of year 15 -16 with year 19 - 20. Botanical claim is continuing to grow as now 70% of launches in a year having this claim. Eco-package claim is doubled and will grow even further as Packaging will be next innovation boom. Vegan, Recycling, Eco-products, No Additives claims have doubled in 19 - 20. Vegan has become trend from activist movement.

This shows there is behavioural change with consumers.

Now, People are experiencing Forced Independence in new ways. There is new understanding of convenient v/s necessary.

Before COVID-19 frequency of Hand Wash was 5 - 6 times a day or as and when required. Now, It has increased 3 to 4 times. It reflects a Very Big Shift in people’s way of life.

83% says they will wash hands more while 81% will avoid crowded place. 77% will use hand sanitizers while 54% have changed their holiday plans.

Lifestyle changes triggered by this virus are impacting consumer mindset, and its impact is bound to stay with consumers for a long

With increase in frequency of cleansing, “Cleansing that is Mild for Skin and Safe for Environment is Cleansing done Right”.

My Organization Galaxy Surfactants Ltd has developed Solution

Galaxy Innovation Team was successful in solving this jigsaw and team Galaxy successfully implemented a Mild Surfactants system for use in all types of Personal & Home Care applications & products based on its own patented chemistry technology.

Mild Cleansing with all required claims and trends by consumer now possible only with one technology science to improve skin health as well as protect environment.

Under Galsoft brand, Galaxy now offers Range Mild Surfactants Systems as a One Stop Solution for every single need of the consumer for use in all types products meant for Personal and Home Care.

Galsoft series of Mild Surfactants are based on Green Chemistry and Green Manufacturing Technology by following 12 principles of Green Chemistry.

This technology patent received use of Intellectual Property in Innovation award. It is Brain Child of Dr. Nirmal Koshti who is Director Innovation also received award for Innovation with Green Chemistry by ICIS. This shows world has recognised our Technology towards sustainability. It has Zero Waste, Zero Discharge. The starting materials are Renewable Feedstock and Galaxy is member of RSPO (Roundtable Conference of Sustainable Palm Oil) and all sites are RSPO Certified.

Galsoft range Mild Surfactants system now Most Effective, Viable Solution for Clean Beauty while combating Climate Change.

This is how companies have implemented innovative solutions during COVID-19 considering 360 degree change in consumer behaviour in Post Covid-19 as an opportunity.

Yatin P Sheth

General Manager - Business Development

Galaxy Surfactants Ltd

PGDIT - IMDR - Batch of 2000

The writer is Chemical Engineer and Post Graduate in International Business from IMDR 1998-2000 and has 23 years of experience in the field of International Sales, Marketing, Supply Chain & Operations in the field of Specialty & Fine Chemicals for wide variety of end use applications while working with Indian Conglomerates like Akzo Nobel I Pvt Ltd (earstwhile Centak Chemicals), Atul Ltd, Ashapura Minechem and Galaxy Surfactants Ltd.

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