Undoubtedly the lockdown had a considerable impact on the sales of goods that were not essential. These include products like smartphones, TVs, headsets, speakers, etc. Since, just the vital services and products were available, people who wanted to buy these products either could not or deferred their buying decisions.
With the non-essential businesses recommenced, the purchase of audio products witnessed high demand. The primary factor influencing the demand was the requirement for 'Work from Home' personal audio devices, such as noise cancellation headphones and bluetooth speakers have been the most purchased and searched items during the lockdown and post lockdown period.
The rise in demand for audio products is directly associated with rise in services like E-learning, zoom classes for schools and colleges, increase in online gaming, e-sports, home fitness regimes, online corporate meetings, webinars and the increased time on OTT and other entertainment platforms, which ultimately led the students to browsing newly launched wireless noise cancellation earbuds leading the sales.
Audio devices like headphones, soundbars and speakers have seen demand. Homes being their workplace as well, more people have been buying products like headsets and earphones that make talking on the phone easier for them. Coming to entertainment; online steaming has seen 50-100 percent increase for most of the platforms. Complementing the high quality video quality viewers do not want to compromise with the surround sound and audio experience. Thus, ultimately leading him to replace their earlier products with the updated ones that are having sleek design and tremendous in performance.
The lockdown has people disconnected physically from the world but connecting virtually. Juggling professional life and household chores on a day to day basis, lack of physical activities or daily traveling has eventually started taking a toll on people's mental and physical health. Physical and mental wellbeing is paramount especially during the quarantine to ensure positivity and productivity.
This is where virtual fitness regimes are rightfully shaping up India's inclination towards fitness and self-care. Interestingly, fitness apps have seen an uptake by 30 per cent in terms of downloads and a massive 60 per cent rise in consumer spending only in India. These platforms are redefining consumer's receptivity towards an active and fit lifestyle.
Increased demand for audio devices like headphones and wireless earbuds is also a necessity for fitness aficionados. While the lockdown made physical exercise in gyms impossible, Unlock 1.0 has made it easy for people to do activities like jogging and walking in their neighbourhoods. Demand from people who regularly exercise is also contributing to the rise in sales of audio devices as music is their best companion in this quarantine.
In the months ahead of us, it is expected that the demand for personal and home audio equipment will be higher than it has been before. Many organisations has decided to continue with the #newnormal of working – 'Work from Home' till year end. It will become very common, and people would need to use audio equipment that lets them have crystal clear conversations over the phone.
Higher demands amongst audience are not just seen for audio products, the entertainment segment has seen rise in demand for laptops, mobile phone, gaming devices, accessories and consoles. This is certainly a good sign for the retail segment that witnessed a huge hit at the beginning of the year.
<em><strong>(Rohit Nandwani is the Chief Operating Officer of Hammer Audio)</strong></em>.