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Shifting Home During COVID Times? Here's What You Should Know Even as millions across the country get used to the work from home trend, the need for a more comfortable home relocation is growing in demand

By Anjani Kumar Agarwal

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The initial impact of the lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic dealt a major blow to businesses across industries. The survival instincts of movers and packers segment were also put to the ultimate test. During the first few months of the lockdown, the activities in the sector almost came to a grinding halt, only to bounce back in the later months starting August. The sector made efforts to convert a challenging period into an opportunity driven by the "work-from-home' phenomena. However, in the work-from-home world, the industry has been quick to innovate, adapt and bounce back.

As the pandemic-induced lockdown started showing its impact on the ground, there were many who either lost their jobs or had their salaries cut. People who were staying in rented accommodations found it wise to move their base back to their hometowns, and this could not have been possible without the players in the movers and packers segment, which continues to be one of the most scattered and unorganized industries. And the Indian movers and packers sector is busy working to cater to this need, driving a significant growth through these trends. India's movers and packers business is estimated to be in the annual range of INR 10,000-15,000 crore.

Even as millions across the country get used to the work from home trend, the need for a more comfortable home relocation is growing in demand. The pandemic infused changes ensured people started looking for home relocation that was safe and easier. Owing to the lockdown and work from home scenario for the foreseeable future, movers and packers business have seen a significant rise in demand, as people have moved out of their rented apartments back to their native places.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that customer preferences have changed profusely post the COVID-19 outbreak. From migration from metros to smaller cities of a sizeable population of white-collar employees who were working from home, home relocation preferences have significantly altered in the last six months.

There was a time when the thought of relocating would have been something close to a nightmare. Huge impending demand for home relocation and a rapid transition in customers' behaviour dictates catching the pulse of people moving to places. It could range from providing specially designed vehicles to relocate cars, pets and plants, along with other household items in one go to storage and warehousing facilities where the goods are kept safely for the new reality of work from home.

During the pandemic, people have realized the importance of owning a house and many of them also temporarily moved homes to other towns and cities. Whatever may be the reason, the trend of home relocation is definitely on the higher side this year.

We have also seen a massive increase in storage solutions usage in the last few months. Some individuals are moving back to their home towns, pushing up demand for storage solutions where household items and other belongings are stocked securely in warehouses for a desired period at a nominal rental cost. Warehousing demand saw a rapid rise from tier II cities in addition to the demand from tier I cities.

The challenge here was for the movers and packers entities to redesign their modus operandi in accordance with the need of the hour. This development entailed that those who adhered to protocols such as social distancing and sanitization were able to gain the trust of the consumers. Sanitization of trucks and other equipments, staff members wearing masks and gloves and not using recycled moving boxes were some of the basic changes that the movers and packers adhered to in the changed circumstances.

The industry has shown resilience in the face of insurmountable challenges and it will continue to innovate and evolve to provide a hassle-free service. Product safety and on-time arrival will be the driving force for people in the times ahead. As they chase quality and good experiences in a COVID-struck world, home shifting services that fulfil the above criteria backed with delivering what is promised are going to make people stay with the brand in the long haul.

Anjani Kumar Agarwal

CEO, Agarwal Packers and Movers, DRS Group

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