Lockdown: Lessons in Hyperlocal
Innovations are, more often than not, met with resistance owing to our inherent inertia of how we do things. The initial lukewarm response to new developments makes it hard to spot the next big thing in its initial stages – be it a pandemic or a new business opportunity.
The Rise of Hyperlocal
Hyperlocal is here and it is here to stay. The market size has more than doubled from USD 12 Billion in 2016 to USD 26 Billion in 2018. And although customer adoption is still fairly low and limited to select regions, the industry is catching on rapidly.
Even before the outbreak, Hyperlocal was forecasted to grow with a projected CAGR of 55% across 2018-2023. According to an estimate by RedSeer, digital channels will account for 1.2% of India’s overall food and grocery market by 2023, compared to 0.2% in 2018. This has attracted businesses trying to slice a piece of this fast-growing pie.
And then, came the pandemic.
The outbreak of the CoVid-19 caused major economies to go into Lockdown, isolating citizens and placing a major obstacle for connecting businesses and consumers.
Role of Lockdown
Unlike the ongoing pandemic, the adoption of Hyperlocal spreads faster as more people are isolated. This is because a lockdown removes the primary barriers to trying out on-demand doorstep goods and services. Lockdown is for store-less, what demonetization was for cashless.
In short, both the consumers and business owners had no other option other than to resort to delivery services. People who were unaware or had previously refrained from purchasing doorstep groceries/services online, are not only trying out various hyperlocal marketplaces, but also enjoying the convenience and functionality they offer.
This will, in all likelihood, lead to a permanent mindset shift in the masses, as awareness about the offerings spread. And this is not an arbitrary prediction. As China moves out of Lockdown and recovers, it has been observed that after an initial spike, footfall across retail stores is significantly lesser than pre pandemic levels – an observation initially perceived as unusual.
During the same time, businesses and entrepreneurs across the globe are starting or expanding their Hyperlocal operations across the globe. The real impact of Lockdown on the industry will be evident gradually, but businesses are not waiting.
It is not a question of if, but when the hyperlocal industry will come to dominate the food delivery, grocery deliver and essential services markets, among many others. And lockdown is one of the main factors accelerating this adoption.
The outbreak of CoVid-19 has bought severe medical, sociopolitical and economic challenges along with it. But, one of the (very) few silver linings of this can be the learnings of setting up digital channels of connecting with customers, while the customers themselves learn more about the ease-of-life features brought on by this rapidly growing innovation.
Whether you are an entrepreneur and/or a consumer, it’s time for you to hop on the bandwagon.