SWOT ANALYSIS FOR EMERGING MARKETS LIKE INDIA DURING THE PANDEMIC

More than a decade after a global financial crisis presented policy tools designed for such traumatic events, the toolbox is dwindling. The outlook for the current financial year 2021-22 has been affected by the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in India and abroad.

Lowering interest rates, a proven way to encourage people to buy more stuff and take out bigger loans, can only last for a while.

In some cases, central banks have revived or amplified their emergency “quantitative easing” programs – aimed at supporting bond prices and containing interest rates.

Even if policymakers manage to get people to keep pumping money into economies, it’s unclear whether that will be decisive. Fears about the fundamental impact of COVID-19 on the supply chains needed to get goods to stores run deep, and much of the volatility in stock markets is now automatically triggered by algorithms.

So, me and my associates at our firm DSS Group were in the midst of a whirlwind debate about how to diversify our business to stay safer from such future shocks, when we realized that this pandemic was actually a advantage.

How? ‘Or’ What?

Let’s do a SWOT analysis focusing on weaknesses/threats and opportunities

WEAKNESS/THREATS

  • COVID-19 brought an abrupt end to an 11-year bull market. Now central bankers tasked with intervening to avert another financial crisis must do so with balance sheets that have yet to fully recover from the last

  • Coronavirus calls for wartime economic thinking, in addition to a coronavirus spending bill, India will need a stimulus package worth up to $2 trillion.

  • Even in a place like Vietnam which has done an admirable job of containing the spread of the coronavirus, its economic impact – potentially requiring a full percentage point of GDP growth

  • Despite the best efforts of Indian lawmakers, several critical areas of economic stabilization are likely to remain unaddressed.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Corruption can be eradicated – The cost of corruption in developing countries like India has been estimated at $1.3 trillion per year, or three quarters of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP. Perhaps the COVID-19 crisis will prompt governments to act to reduce leakage, creating fiscal space to better serve the poor while laying the groundwork for recovery and sustained economic growth.

  • The focus on innovative technology-based ways to run businesses will receive a strong push due to the fact that the pandemic has rendered the majority of the population immobile. This will open up a plethora of options for new businesses or businesses that thrive on the use of new technologies.

Examples:

  • Medical / Pharmacy (Medkart)

  • Groceries (Jio Mart)

  • Educational Technology (Udemy)

  • Online game (Rummycircle)

  • OTT (vote)

  • Fitness and wellness apps (HealthifyMe)

  • Health Care Consultation and Online Sales (1Mg)

NET TAKE AWAY

During the pandemic, overall, the largest growth sector for new businesses was healthcare (16%). The largest combined sector was personal services (retail, leisure and hospitality), perhaps taking advantage of opportunities as COVID reshaped the personal services economy.

Additionally, there is a clear shift in business activity from urban to suburban areas in 2020-21. Almost half (46%) of newly created businesses are located in the suburbs, compared to 2019, when only 33% of new businesses were created in suburban areas. These trends further suggest that the pandemic-induced displacement of population and economic activity away from urban cores is a long-term feature of the economic landscape.

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