Business Owners Should Find Alternatives Ways, not to Panic, to Deal with the Effects of Coronavirus Epidemic!
The forecasts are painting gloomy picture across all the industries and markets in 2020 on the dramatic impact of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) epidemic outbreak. The impact is set to be global, with more countries likely to develop significant outbreaks of the epidemic in the coming months. The hospitality, entertainment and electronics industry will be the most affected, with significant drop in business operations and revenues. Major sporting, business and entertainment events are likely to be cancelled, thus slashing revenues. The consumers are likely to stockpile essential goods and avoid luxury expenditure in the face of wide-spread economic and health concerns, adding to the slowdown of the economies. Added to this will be losses in productivity due to workplace closures and supply chain disruptions.
Commodity Markets are the First to Suffer
Commodities markets are the first to be hit by the epidemic. Oil & gas and metals are already seeing decline in demand driving down prices and reducing volume sales, thus reducing the overall market size. The virus is also likely to impact the retail and wholesale markets, especially offline sales as people become less willing to shop and more conservative in their purchasing for a period. The transport services market, previously expected to grow strongly due to booming tourism and mobility, is now expected to see a low growth, and some parts of the global hospitality industry will experience decline.
Coronavirus Affects are Felt beyond China
In China, growth across markets is expected to drop significantly from a previous forecast of 8% growth in 2020. The booming Chinese hospitality, transport and recreation markets which were expected to exceed 10% growth in 2020 are now forecast to face lower growth or even contraction. A similar pattern is expected in other countries covered in the Global Market Model, such as South Korea. Hospitality, travel and entertainment industries in South Korea will be heavily hit, with minimal growth in 2020. The transport services market, already expected to see anemic growth in 2020 in South Korea, is likely to go into recession as movement is restricted and individuals avoid public transport. Now the virus spreading across the world, the it is going to affect adversely all the national economies in the world.
“The coronavirus outbreak is a much wider issue than just manufacturing and supply chains,” comments Oliver Guirdham, Research Head at TBRC. “When people are concerned about their health and safety, their normal consumer behavior changes, they tend to become more conservative, both as consumers and in businessmen. The result of this on a wide-scale will be a significant slow-down, and some markets might even run backwards. The financial markets have already started to realize this.”
The Global Market Model is a live platform that is continuously updated to reflect the latest news and data, with forecasts adjusted on the basis of real-time developments. “It is at times like this that you really see the value of this platform,” comments Oliver. “If you buy an expensive market report, the forecasts and outlook can often be outdated quickly. The Global Market Model is updated live, so it is a low-cost and effective answer for many businesses that need up-to-date and forward-looking information in thousands of specialist markets.”
The Coronavirus has already affected India’s manufacturing and exports sectors — notably medicines, electronics, textiles and chemicals. The govt said it would take all the necessary steps to protect Indian industry from the threat, especially in the area of intermediate goods where $30 billion worth of bilateral trade takes place every year. We spoke to several industry experts and brands in the mobile accessories space to know how they are preparing to take the impact.
Outlook of Industry Leaders on the Impact Coronavirus
With the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), CIOs should focus on short-term actions to increase their organizations’ resilience against disruptions and prepare for rebound and grow, according to Gartner, Inc. Below we have listed the comments of several prominent mobility accessories industry personalities and executives.
Mr. Gopal Jeyaraj – Head India & SAARC, Anker Innovations, believes, “Right now we have enough stocks of our mobile accessories so there is no immediate negative effect of Coronavirus epidemic on our business operations, but if the delays in supplies from China continue, then there will be shortages from May month onwards. We are selling our products to our partners at the same prices at which we used to sell earlier. We do not want to take advantage of the situation and sell at increased prices. Increasing prices at this time to make some quick money, as some providers are doing, is highly unethical. For Make in India too, most components and raw materials have to come from China, so Coronavirus has a similar impact on Make in India. If the supplies resume by May, it would be fine. Otherwise, it can be difficult for all. Another issue is, due to Coronavirus fear, whether it is real or imaginary, most customers are not coming to the retailers to purchase products. So there is a significant drop in demand despite the availability of stocks with retailers. Under these circumstances, the retailers need credit time extended to survive. So we are helping and urging our ND and sub-distributors to extend the credit periods for the end retailers. In China, the infection rates have been brought under control. But, for India, April will be decisive; if India can control the spread of the virus by April-end, we are through. Otherwise, there is going to be a disaster. We all hope things will end up well and the mobile accessories industry will limp back to normality by May.”
Commenting on the impact of the outbreak of Coronavirus on the consumer electronics segment, Mr. Mandeep Arora, Managing Director, UBON, a leading consumer electronics brand, said, “The impact of the deadly Coronavirus outbreak in China is likely to be contingent on all business activities in India. The companies across the electronics industry are monitoring the evolving situation and are trying to stabilize their supplies in the short-run. We are fortunate that we have our production facilities in India to deal with disruptions. Also, we have ample flexibility at our backend with reasonable surplus to keep our operations running. In addition, keeping the needs and requirements of our customers and partners in mind, we are taking all the measures to ensure that our Indian partners and customers don’t suffer the shortages.”
“With the global outbreak of Coronavirus and with the confirmed cases of infections in India on steady rise, the epidemic definitely will have strong impact on the Indian businesses leading to downfall not only of the Indian economy but at the global level. In the last few months, supplies have suffered badly and Chinese manufacturers have increased prices. We foresee the effects to last at least one quarter leading to a free-fall of the economy. As the Indian government is taking all the possible steps to minimize the impact, all we can hope is for the situation to get better soon and derailed business scenario improves soon. We are keeping our fingers crossed,” says Mr Sanjay Kalirona, CEO, Gizmore.
“Recently, China has restarted production which is a relief and the material has started arriving in India. There will be short delays of 15-20 days, but things seem to get normal. However, due to the rising cases of infection in India, we are taking a lot of precaution in our company by asking everyone to wear masks and we are sanitizing periodically the office space periodically. Instructions are being given to workers and employees as well on how they can prevent the spread of virus. We are also doing screen testing before anyone enters in our office premises be it a company official or a visitor,” Mr. Arjun Bajaj, Director Videotex.
Jitendra Bhatia, JBTEK, comments, “The outbreak of Coronavirus epidemic has adversely affected the Indian mobility markets considerably slowing business operations and activities. Some companies in China have started slowly operating but it will take time before the supplies become normal. Even the costs of our manufacturing in India have increased as the costs of raw materials and components have been increased nearly 15% to 20% by Chinese providers. Whatever stock we have we are giving to our partners in a sustainable manner so that they can do business without breaks. Most vendors have increased their prices, but we are giving to our partners nearly at the old prices from the existing stocks, because we want to support our partners as much as we can during this critical time. The situation is expected to remain tough for the next 1 or 2 months. We hope things will become normal by May-June. We are anxiously waiting to see this crisis to be over and things to get normal.”
Mr. Paresh Vij, Founder & Director, U & i, reveals, “In our case, only the supply of our Bluetooth speakers has been somewhat affected by Coronavirus epidemic. Otherwise, the outbreak of Coronavirus has very little impact on our brand and supply of other products. We have enough stock and have already started getting shipments from China. Since we have been maintaining good track-record of payments to our Chinese providers, they are giving us first preference while shipping products to us in India. The Chinese providers have not increased prices. In fact, they are decreasing prices because they are badly in need of money. Some providers in India, who want to sell at higher prices and make money taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak situation, are spreading rumors that prices have increased from Chinese side. We also have good support system for our partners in T2 and T3 cities. We have not increased prices in India; on the other hand, we have launched a liberal incentive scheme for our partners with effect from March 1, 2020. Coming to Make in India, Indian conditions are still not mature enough to make Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth neckbands, etc. For these products, brands can only get components and raw material from China and assemble in India. U& i is ‘Born to Win’ and these temporary issues cannot affect us.”
Mr. Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, a Kodak brand licensee, shares, “Currently we don’t face any shortage as we have stocks for the next few months; our production is also going smoothly. Next, as people prefer to avoid going to cinema halls and stay indoors, we are expecting the demand for TVs to increase. We are also working closely with OTT players to provide more value-added services.”
“The effect of Coronavirus is massive on the Indian markets. With the production in China going down significantly, we are running short of components. We reduced our production and also planning to cut down our manpower. We have already seen a 10% increase in pricing and decreasing demand in the market and we are not sure when the situation will get better,” Mohammed Gyasuddin, Managing Director Hitech Cellphone Pvt Ltd.
D.K. Bharti, e-Ping, comments, “The market is severely affected by the Coronavirus, particularly in the case of those products, raw materials and components for which we are 100% dependent on imports from China, like Bluetooth speakers and wireless categories. It has become difficult to maintain supply and prices according to demand particularly in the T2 and T3 cities. In the case of the products for which we are partly dependent on imports and those products we are manufacturing in India, like chargers, cables, ear phones, etc, we are able to provide in a sustainable manner to our channel partners, with minimum increases in prices. We are expecting the imports to become normal by May-June.”
Mr. Vikas Gupta, Director at TAG (Technology And Gadgets), comments, “The economic and market downturn due to Coronavirus outbreak will last till the end of May. I feel it’s the right time for brands to analyze their strengths and weaknesses and adopt new ways to deal with the situation and partly cover up deficiencies.”
Ashish, Inbase, says, “In India, most of the mobile accessories are imported from China. Presently, due to Coronavirus affects, most of the workers in China still have not started working regularly; most factories and the production lines are working at just 30-40% of their regular capacities. There are delays in supplies from China to India and this situation is very much affecting our business. Almost all the industrial segments are hit by the situation. The shortages have already resulted in the price hikes and it’s affecting the businesses at all levels irrespective of one’s geographical location in India. Planning in advance and sourcing from countries other than China can partly relieve the pressure.”
Narayan Rathod, Director, RD Telenet, said, “After outbreak of Coronavirus, the production levels in China reduced to 20% of their previous levels since January. This has affected mobile and accessories industry as most supplies have to come totally from China. Recently, since the entry of Coronavirus into India, demand from retailers and end-users too decreased in India and the situation has become critical for the electronic industry. In fact, all the industries are being affected due to COVID-19. The T2 and T3 cities too are going to be affected in the same way. Since safety is first, we have given our employees the choice to work from home as far as possible. We are maintaining safety by sanitizing the work places in the office and checking temperatures of the staff with no-contact infrared thermometers at the reception.”
Mr Tarun Bhutani, AMANI, states, “Basically, rumors are affecting the Indian mobile and accessories market, more than the Coronavirus. Even the World Health Organization has clarified that purchasing items from China does not spread the virus. To arrest the spread, people should avoid crowded places like restaurants, schools, cinema halls, public transport, market places, etc. We hope the situation will improve soon.”
Engaging Digital Channels as a Way to Partially Relieve the Situation
Many organizations are already engaging customers over digital platforms such as websites, apps, online marketplaces and social media, though offline face-to-face engagement still plays a big role. Workplace collaboration, video conferencing and livestreaming solutions can partly compensate in customer engagement and selling. Organizations should also enable customers to use self-service via online, mobile, social, kiosk and interactive voice response (IVR) channels.
The importance of digital channels becomes obvious as market demand shrinks and as people rely more on online platforms for daily supplies. Organizations can leverage digital channels, such as online marketplaces and social platforms, to partially compensate the loss in demand. They can set up official pages/accounts and integrate commerce capabilities to enable online selling. They should also quickly adapt products to make them suited for selling through digital channels.
How to work from home effectively: With the outbreak of Coronavirus epidemic, the concept of ‘working from home’ has gained fresh momentum. The leading organizations like Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, among others are all asking their employees to work from home owing to the spread of Coronavirus across the nations and continents, with an aim to reduce spread of infections. Here are some of the best collaboration software tools for productive teams that will make ‘work from home’ easier:
1. Messenger – Flock: Aside from being one of the most cost-effective business collaboration tools in the market, it is also one of the most comprehensive. Flock is an all-in-one solution tool that takes care of your company’s messaging, videoconferencing and screen sharing, file-sharing and productivity needs. It also helps team leaders keep a track of their team’s performance through Flock’s Shared to-dos feature where employees can share their to-dos and update them in real-time.
2. Video conferencing – Zoom: Zoom’s interface is simple and has direct screen sharing abilities that other brands make you pay for. It’s also comparatively user-friendly than Google Hangouts or Meetings or whatever Google is calling it these days. Plus, Zoom lets you record your team meetings and screen-sharing sessions, another important feature that flies under the radar.
3. File sharing – Google Drive: This especially is true if you’re a faithful Microsoft Office user because of its capacity to readily convert Word docs and Excel sheets. Additionally, sharing files securely across multiple platforms is now a must-have integration, and Google Drive can be deployed just about everywhere, including Flock.
4. Task management – Asana: Asana lets you keep track of who’s doing what and by when the task is expected to be complete. Delegate subtasks to colleagues on separate teams, assign them accomplish items and track every project update (including comments and links to shared files) in a simple calendar view.
5. Notes app – Evernote: Evernote has outdone themselves with an extremely easy-to-use digital notebook that actually doesn’t look or feel like a typical Evernote product. Evernote not only allows you to organize but also sort intuitively across multiple notepads while adding anecdotes and tagging to-dos, while the obligatory web clipper lets you easily attach pics, videos, and screengrabs to shared tasks and reminders.
6. CRM – HubSpot: When it comes to one centralized portal for all of your data touchpoints and reporting combined, HubSpot makes the most feasible for businesses across. Having the facility to not only store, segment, and track pertinent sales and marketing data, but also maintain vital insight on customer and employee relationships, saves your teams heaps of time. That’s something you can’t put a price tag on. Luckily, you don’t have to because the HubSpot CRM is free for all businesses to use.
In a nutshell, today’s ultra-competitive business environment, cutting-edge collaboration tools are imperative for accelerating productivity and results. The key is finding the right software that works for you.
With the dawn of the New Year 2020, the Coronavirus has surfaced like a bolt from the blue sending quakes across the societies, nations, markets, governments and economies. Its outbreak in China, the world’s manufacturing base, has badly shaken the markets and economies across the world. Indian markets, particularly dependent on imports of technology products from China and totally unprepared, are badly hit. The brands which have stocks to run for one or two months are lucky—they can keep their partners and customers on until the supplies resume from China. Those brands which have finished their stocks have to patiently wait for two more months or longer without revenues. Even the developed countries like Italy, USA, Britain, Germany, etc became helpless under the onslaught of Coronovirus. Many companies are talking of encouraging employees to work from home, but we do not know how far this can compensate the shortages, losses and disruptions. We can just wait and hope the Coronavirus would be brought under control by April-end, brining relief to the Indian markets and to the world.