Real Estate Consumer Behaviour Post-Covid-19 Lockdown

Pankaj completed bachelor of engineering from Bharati College of Engineering in instrumentation and has shown competency in business development till today.

COVID-19 is a one-of-a-kind event in human history. It has challenged our daily routines and collective and perceived realities. Consumers are already in the midst of understanding of our needs and wants and this has already started to make an impact on the consumer behavior and it will evolve further in times to come. This pandemic has led to consumers believing in a new normal and the impact is here to stay. The effect on the economy is significant and livelihoods are challenged. However, India’s growth story is still intact. If dot com, demonetization, 3G/4G were the drivers of digital adoption, COVID-19 will in a way turn out to be a catalyst taking India to a Digital Revolution. The government’s current focus on Atmanirbhar Bharat has be extended for coming years to make India a $5 trillion economy.

Studies prove that in 21 days human beings can adopt a new habit. This lockdown has been over 3 months and thus, this has already impacted consumer behavior and buying patterns. We are already witnessing dynamic changes in the way we function across industries. Schools are hosting classes online, for kids this will be a new normal. Industries are collaborating on digital platforms via video meetings/webinars/entertainment. Platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Team and others which already existed pre-COVID have seen humongous increase of installations. Our very own Jio Meet, has already challenged the market leaders in its brief time of existence. This indicates, how consumers are working from home and getting entertained going forward. Companies like TCS, Infosys, and others have already incorporated work-from-home culture and set a target of transitioning 50 percent of their total work force to work from home going forward. Few studies suggest that work-from-home has also increased productivity of employees.

This pandemic has brought us closer to our families and has made us concerned about hygiene and social distancing. Going forward, we will be more inclined to retain these habits while shopping, going out, sharing a cab, owning or renting and more. Also, this has made consumers do day-to-day household chores. These changes will affect consumer buying and how they perceive what’s necessary and important.

Indians have already seen their share of e-commerce growth driven by the exorbitant sales conducted by Amazon, Flipkart and other. With COVID-19, Indian customer habits are strengthening in digital consumption, which is a clear indication that the Indian customer is digital savvy and ready. COVID-19 is a disruption; therefore, marketing also has to evolve, and there has to be shift in consumer behavior. There will be a decrease in conventional advertising spends, since more and more consumers are going digital. There will be an increase in e-Commerce advertising spends as customer switch to buying online. As per reports, retail industry has already increased their digital marketing spends by 20 percent.

With consumer preference of using technology in all aspects of life, developers too will have to adopt these evolving consumer behavior demands in their projects going forward

Real estate is not far away from this impact and hence, is beginning to adapt to these structural changes in the buying habits of Indian consumers. Consumers working from home will create the need for functional homes, wherein they can have a dedicated space for a work station, and can go about doing their work with minimum interruption. Day-to-day household chores will lead to the need of smart homes, where consumers can utilize technology to save time. For a majority of Indian customers choosing necessity over luxury will be the path ahead for at least the next couple of years. With consumer preference of using technology in all aspects of life, developers too will have to adopt these evolving consumer behavior demands in their projects going forward. Projects have to be delivered while taking into consideration these demands. Developers adapting to these requirements will definitely leap forward and have a bigger market share then their peers.

With lockdown, social distancing and customers’ prime requirement of personal hygiene, in-person site visits of projects have reduced, as the consumer is skeptical to step out of the safety of his house. Developers needs to use technology to engage with customers online. From just using digital platforms to promote their projects, the digital strategy has to evolve due to this disruption. The developers have to give the customer access to interact and evaluate their projects online. A complete online project experience, which is immersive and interactive at the same time. Virtual site visits, virtual walkthroughs allowing customers to interact with multiple projects, view properties, engage with project details, project accessibility, project amenities and more. and even to book their property of interest online are the need of the hour to make the customer home-buying experience convenient. Technology can cover almost 95 percent of the entire consumer home-buying process. COVID-19 is that inflection point wherein the consumer buying process has to be eased.