The pandemic has driven commerce and trade onto the internet. This is especially true for the retail businesses as we have witnessed it changing over the past ten months.
Significant changes in consumer shopping behavior are here to stay. Online buying has increased multifold, though the impact on price segments, is not clearly quantifiable just yet. With people restrained in their houses, their methods of dealing with isolation and uncertainty are reflected in their newly acquired shopping behavior. This includes bulk-buying, increased online surfing, and unpredictability in what, when, how, and where they buy things. Market dynamics are changing, so are the fortunes of business verticals. Brands are now grappling with the question of “where the customer”?
While it was the Gen Z kids doing most of the online purchasing in the pre-pandemic period, now they have been joined by Gen X, Y, and even the 'baby-boomers’. Everyone is online and the retailers have started focusing on how they can cater to the requirements of each generation. The COVID-19 has changed the way we use the internet; in many households, buying groceries and shopping apparel online have replaced store and mall visits.
When it comes to luxury products like watches – Swiss Luxury Watch brands that earlier hardly considered the internet a serious retailing option, are today fighting for eyeballs. With minimal to no outdoor activity, the watch industry has been facing its most challenging time since its revival in the early ‘90s. This period of uncertainty has resulted in brands rescheduling the launch of novelties and repositioning existing collections.
Urbanization across the country is impacting the millennials and demand for products that are aesthetically pleasing, unique with smart features, and projecting a luxury appeal are gaining in popularity. Interestingly, price is not a game-changer. Brand value is.
Marketing and PR budgets have been completely reworked and the focus has shifted to social media with the print medium losing its traction among most TGs. Though we are separated physically, social media acts as a fantastic way for various communities to connect. With social media flourishing, Bloggers and Influencers have replaced Brand Ambassadors, and a personality is associated with a brand only for a limited duration. This pandemic has brought in a lot of business disruptions and has led to brands re-think their marketing strategy. Brand collaborations are on the rise. Co-branding has also become a norm rather than an exception, and brands are open to making connections across different genres.
The Swiss watch brands have been consistently making efforts to bring in new product innovations that will create a connect with the upcoming generation. One thing the watch brands could capitalize on during the pandemic is the smartwatch features that are becoming a rage with the new generation. A whole collection of “smartwatches” with multiple functions and connectivity are now offered by Swiss brands. Clearly, the target audience seems to be the young urban youth.
The lines between fashion, lifestyle, and luxury are getting blurred as brands have started to realise how customers have evolved and exposure has increased. One important aspect for Gen-Z, while they are shopping online, is that they are always on the look-out for the next big thing in the market. With new features and an improved line of products making its appearance in the market almost every other day, the brands have been trying their best to stay relevant and fresh during these unprecedented times.
The good news is that work from home routines have actually increased disposable income, though net income may have decreased. These are the megabucks that brands are chasing.