In India, one of the major industries that got severely impacted after the series of COVID-19 lockdowns since 2020 was the relocation industry. As the major role of this packers and movers industry is to help people shift from one location to the other with their belongings, the sudden enforcement of complete lockdown in the country abruptly halted their operations. People postponed their moving plans due to the scare of the deadly virus in the country and stringent lockdown guidelines implemented by the government. The moving processes worldwide were temporarily suspended with severe transportation restrictions and strict social distancing requirements. This posed a challenge for the moving industry. It was quite clear that this part of the logistics sector might witness next-level changes in the coming time.
Some of the major impacts of the COVID-19 on the relocation industry in India are:
- No contact deliveries: Packers and movers implemented social distancing norms in their moving processes to restrict the points of contact between them and their customers. Most reputed moving companies customized their services by promoting online payments, uploading, and updating documents online, and invoicing and e-billing.
- Home survey on a video call: The pre-move survey conducted face-to-face at the customer's place to provide moving cost estimates is now carried out on a video call. The customer will now be required to give them a walk around in their home to give them an idea about the relocation needs. Paperwork will be signed virtually, considering the social distancing norms.
- Halt in transportation process: With highways connecting cities closed, transportation of goods became non-operational. Many truck drivers returned to their hometowns as no work was there. The cost of petrol was fluctuating due to the fall in the GDP, leading to fewer transport vehicles on the roads.
- Implementation of safety precautions: Safety measures for COVID-19 are a must for the moving companies after the relocation industry is back in action. The use of N95 masks, gloves, and PPE kits is a must for the moving professionals during the move. Every packed box is sanitized, and workers and customers maintained zero contact with each other.
- Popularization of warehousing services: Warehousing and storage services became popular during the pandemic. People can save money on rent and keep essential items safe until they move. Such services are available for both short and long-term purposes.
- Increase in domestic relocation: A significant impact of the pandemic can be seen on the supply chain. If international relocation companies in the USA, UK, Canada, etc. took a back seat temporarily due to restrictions, there was a considerable increase in domestic shifting.
- Demand and supply changes: Relocating to developing countries with increased human capital at reduced rates. This will open new gates of opportunities for the packers and movers in offering their expert services to their customers. Identification of these countries will help moving companies to have a better position during such a crisis. Moreover, with an increase in culture, some companies are prepared to invest in digital technology services rather than moving expenses.
The Packers Movers is one of the reputed and trusted online reference directories of packers and movers in India that operate not just in India but also overseas. The portals help people get in touch with reliable pre-verified movers and packers that meet their preferences and budget. As the website exclusively rendered services in the moving industry and has been working closely with relocation companies, it witnessed a massive change in the landscape of this sector post-COVID-19. The industry saw a fall in the requests for intercity shifting in India; even the requests for local relocation witnessed a considerable decline. The pandemic made mobility professionals change their methods of operations and evolve new ways that comply with government regulations to relocate people in a safe and secure manner.
Speaking with Mukesh Kumar, the official from the senior management of The Packers Movers, he said, “Logistics and transportation became the worst-hit sectors in India and witnessed a major downfall in their services as these industries majorly depend on transport. Although relocation is an essential service in every state, the moving industry is not behind to face the economic repercussions of the virus. Over several months, we have noticed cancellations and reschedules moves leading to financial damages to the moving companies.”
He further added, “As we have thousands of packers and movers listed on our website that we work very closely, we have seen their professional ups and downs after the virus outbreak. After the first lockdown was imposed on 22nd March 2020, we noticed a 50% to 60% fall in the moving inquiries. But, after it was lifted, a significant 20-30% increase was seen in the inquiries for Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Pune packers and movers. Even the listings of moving companies on our website were reduced as most of the companies were non-operational. Things are much normal now as the relocation industry is evolving with significant behavioral changes in COVID-19 pandemic.”
The lockdown events were the moments of truth for the movers and packers industry in India. There were significant reformations that took place after the COVID crisis that impacted the country. When the lockdown rules eased, there was an increase in the demand for household shifting as people were ready to resume their relocation. Perhaps, the online tracking, real-time updates, and no-contact deliveries will stay for a long time.