Future Generali

What products or services will become void post COVID?

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Rakesh Wadhwa:

There will be profound changes as a result of pandemic and new paradigms will emerge. So in the context of products and services, what do you see disappearing from the world as we know of it today?

 

Sir Martin Sorrell:

Well, did you say disappearing? I mentioned travel and leisure. They're not going to disappear, but they're going to change.

I think newspapers in the traditional form, in the physical form, when you think about how any official that is felling trees and distributing newspapers, which is environmentally unfriendly too. I can't see, in the newer digital world that they will survive in those forms.

Magazines would come under the same pressure. Although there is some evidence, for example, women, are attuned to magazine. That's an area where I see radical change, but I think the way of describing it is much better to say, what is the V shape activity? So all the tech activity online shopping, online education, online healthcare, online financial payment systems, online communication. That's obviously one area which is very V-shaped. Health care. I mentioned that in case, in the context of online, again, COVID-19, if I can put it this way, plays to healthcare strengths in home entertainment gaming, again, plays to the strengths.

The U shaped areas are going to be areas of packaged goods. Procter has done very well in Q1, had a record quarter. We'll see how they're doing Q2, but my guess is they will continue to do well. They jettison their food business under AG Lafley many years ago, Unilever still have a food business. They are challenged on the food service side with hotels and the like, and institutional food supply. And obviously the ice cream business has suffered because of lack of distribution, but their cleaning portfolio, detergents, et cetera, personal care has benefited. Nestle again, they've done very well too, as have Colgate and Mondelez.

So that's sort of more, more V-shaped in some categories, maybe more U shaped than the others. Autos very challenged in the midst of COVID-19, but they will come back. You see it in China, dangerous to extrapolate Chinese experience to the rest of the world, because, in comparison to India, it's a much more autocratic, obviously system, a much less democratic system. But having said that the trend is there and as the automobile showrooms open up and indeed, as we see, start to see more direct distribution, more online distribution of automobiles and online ordering and design. I've seen Some virtual reality or augmented reality executions, which will enable me as a consumer to buy order and buy a car online, which has clear implications. It was pushed by Amazon in that particular case. You're seeing even automobile distribution will change very significantly.

So, in terms of disappearing, I think travel and leisure is going to be very challenged. It's going to be, I think, more L shape or a very deep flat bottom U. But I don't think there will be many things that disappear in their entirety. Working from home, as I've said, is going to become more and more important, particularly to our young workforce.

Our people on the media side are about average age, 25 on the content side, about 32, there are 2,550 of them where we're really listening to what they wanted. If they want more flexible commuting time, they want to be in the office, maybe two or three days a week. They want to spend more time with clients.

They want to embed themselves in the clients or if we're doing in-housing, be on the client premises. So it's going to vary.

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