Ashok Vaswani contended that, for the most part, banks have been able to continue to provide services to clients, make the transition to remote work without much disruption, and cope with the pandemic remarkably well.
Enterprises that are able to conduct their activities and handle transactions remotely (such as Netflix and Amazon) have fared well, while enterprises that rely on an in-person customer experience (such as airlines and hotels) have fared poorly.
In crises, it is common for cash usage to increase dramatically. However, for the first time, we are seeing a decline in cash usage and a significant uptick in digital, plastic, and contactless payments. While he acknowledged that the usage of cash may decline in the long term, Vaswanistated that he does not believe that we are imminently headed toward a totally cashless society.
Vaswani detailed his predictions for consumer behavior in the post-pandemic era. He forecasts that e-commerce will continue to play a major role, and that in-store visits will be less common. Many retailers are realizing that sales can be efficiently conducted online, and that the costs of keeping stores open are steep. However, he does not believe that the in-store experience will merely become a remnant of the past; after all, humans are social beings who will continue to crave the leisure, shopping, and restaurant experiences.
“People have been forced to cocoon into their homes. Because of this, anything that actually gets to the cocoon has prospered, and anything that requires people to step out of the cocoon has suffered,” Ashok Vaswani
Key takeaways & next steps:
We should be prepared for a world in which e-commerce and digital payments play an increasingly dominant role.