2020 was a terrible year.
2021 started with a lot of promise but is now threatening to turn bad. Hopefully not.
But hopes aside, while 2020 was a bad year for almost everyone it certainly was not so for Ayurveda. Most Ayurvedic brands had a great year. Sales of certain products increased 300 to 400%. If you are running an Ayurveda company and you finished the year with a 20% growth figure then you know you could have done better, significantly better. This is not news. There are many articles that show this trend. The real news, the interesting part of this story is what this surge in demand for Ayurvedic products tells us about habit creation.
2020 created the perfect conditions for growth in demand for Ayurveda. It created an active and informed consumer. She was highly motivated to find ways to boost her immunity. She was homebound with loads of time and loads of worries. ‘Immunity’ and ‘Ayurveda’ were two of the most searched phrases in 2020. These searches led to a clearer understanding of Ayurveda. She started looking at Ayurveda as a means of preparation. Quite different from a cure. Ayurveda made sense as a means of preparing one’s body for things that could harm it. This sat well with her newfound proactive mindset towards health. Ayurveda was understood as it should be understood. A way of living, a lifestyle, something that helps your body prepare and fight off things that could harm it. What was really fascinating was that she learned this on her own. No Ayurvedic brand or institute taught her the real story of Ayurveda.
The valuable lesson that this teaches us is how important it is for consumers to understand the real value a new product or brand can add to their lives. This is a lesson that is applicable across categories and consumer segments.
Take green tea for instance.
Green tea has been around for a long time. Some of India’s biggest companies have their green tea brands. Yet green tea as a category is faced with the same problem that it had always faced. Consumer churn. Consumers enter the category as they see it as a simple path towards weight reduction. Notice no weight reduction over time and then exit. Green tea as a category has been guilty of not helping consumers understand the real benefit of green tea. They went for the lowest hanging fruit or crowd puller. Consumers continue to enter this category without any clear understanding of what green tea does to the body and they continue to exit as they do not see what they expected – weight reduction. And green tea continues to remain where it always was.
Newer categories or new habits always need a deeper and truer engagement. It not enough to spark interest. They need to ensure that consumers gain a comprehensive understanding of their benefit. They should ensure that they do not come through as some sort of a miracle. They should respect consumers and have a transparent conversation with them. If they are able to make sense of the science and if they are able to discern the value a new habit will take root.