‘Covid-induced FMCG opportunities not only for biggies; startups pivoting to tap long term potential’

August 27, 2020 12:20 PM

Being fundamentally nimble, flexible and adaptable, the focus area of start-ups would now shift to being mindful and being more efficient while addressing the new consumer mindset and requirements.

economic revival, revival of economy, fmcg, pharma, healthcareStartups are quickly pivoting themselves to the new range of requirements in the FMCG space.
  • By Sumit Keshan

Covid-19 has brought forth a substantial impact on the dynamics of the investing world, giving a big push to certain sectors such as health & hygiene, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, immunity boosters and certain other FMCG categories, making them the ‘next big thing’. The health and hygiene categories have witnessed a huge surge in demand as consumers are getting ultra-conscious of their health and consuming immunity boosters, preventive medicines and alternatives. The unprecedented nature of the virus has created a behavioural shift in consumers and brands are working actively towards addressing this demand surge.

There is an increased focus among consumers on how can things be done more at home instead of stepping out. This is leading to a greater emphasis on Do It Yourself (DIY) products such as beard trimmers, women’s face & eyebrow razors, and others that are flying off the shelves. Affordable green basket, clean products, too would get greater emphasis in the minds of consumers.

In the FMCG space, while certain sectors have got adversely impacted, there is another set of sectors that is getting a fillip which can be seen from a slew of new product launches in the hygiene and safety space owing to consumer demand. With products including anti-germ skin/hand creams, anti-germ detergents, disinfectants, sanitizers, floor/surface cleaners, and immunity building products gaining higher acceptance amongst the consumers, the segment looks interesting to invest in. The focus would be on functional products and convenience to consumers.

Also read: Small businesses see growth back in 3-5 years after facing Covid headwinds; recovery in 3-12 months

Another sector that is getting investors’ attention is that of Pharmaceuticals. Organizations are working tirelessly to procure approvals for a new line of products which addresses the need of the hour, for example, recently Glenmark Pharmaceuticals received approval from India’s drugs regulator to make and sell the oral antiviral drug for treating mild-to-moderate Covid-19 patients. Mental health is also getting the required focus with a larger population getting badly affected and not treating themselves due to associated social stigma.

These are not opportunities meant only for the biggies. Startups can clearly benefit, and they are playing their role too. Being fundamentally nimble, flexible and adaptable, the focus area of start-ups would now shift to being mindful and being more efficient while addressing the new consumer mindset and requirements. This is not unusual with emerging brands expanding their product range to cater to the changing demand landscape as well as the creation of new brands and offerings.

Start-ups have been thinking on their feet. Instead of getting bogged down by the environment, there are many examples of how start-ups are quickly pivoting themselves to the new range of requirements as they see greater potential not just in the immediate short term but on a sustained basis. This is where one sees entrepreneurship at its best.

During the past few months, when the crisis hit the world from every corner, these sectors have shown significant play which supported the economic and consumer goods’ wheels. In the aftermath of Covid-19 and the consequent lockdowns, when the country is anxious about their future, these sectors would be the dark horses and emerge into the limelight.

Sumit Keshan is the Managing Partner at Wipro Consumer Care – Ventures. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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