If you thought on-demand services were picking up last year, that’s nothing compared to the changes we are going to see in 2018. When the on-demand economy was just picking up momentum a few years ago, many experts expressed skepticism. Today, the on-demand concept has penetrated every market imaginable. The on-demand services model grew out of our collective human drive towards ‘instant everything’.
However, it isn’t just about the ‘instant’ culture – the on-demand economy is solving a very real problem of fluctuating organizational demands. Businesses need to stay agile in today’s economy, and what is required today may not be required in the same capacity tomorrow. On-demand applications provide an elegant solution: a scalable model where customers pay-per-use in order to get services when they need them, where they need them. All with the simple click of a button.
Successful startups like Uber and Airbnb have harnessed the power of on-demand to scale a level that was previously unimaginable. Despite the fact that most on-demand businesses are hardly 5 years old, they have seen investments over $4.8 billion in capital – and that number is rising rapidly.
Current scenario of on-demand services
We live in exciting times. Sure, the on-demand model has picked up momentum, but it is still evolving as the tech industry permeates every aspect of our lives. Case-in-point: Uber was one of the pioneering on-demand apps – a system for people can get vehicles to pick them up and drop them off to and from their preferred locations. Uber helped people bypass the tedious process of stepping out onto the street, hailing a bunch of cabs until one stops (depending on where you are), then having to explain to the driver where exactly you need to be dropped off. Today, people can just tap and travel. You don’t even need cash anymore – just do a mobile transfer! The success of this model is evident if you look at how many other on-demand aps have mushroomed in the past five years. We bet you have one or more of these popular on-demand apps on your phone right now:
- American Express
- Trip Advisor
We did a headcount of the &Apps internal team and guess what? Everyone from our techies to designers to admin staff had an average of 4 apps on their phones! So, how many did you have? It is not just you and me though, the on-demand economy is attracting more than 22.4 million consumers annually, raking in over $57.6 billion in spending according to the Harvard Business Review. This comes as no surprise because our addiction to smart devices has been widely recognized. Leaving our tech addictions aside though, what this means for users and creators of innovative applications is this: we are quickly stepping into a world where it is becoming easier, faster and more convenient to touch a button and get what we want. Few are going to walk or drive to a brick and mortar establishment when they can get things delivered – and fast!
With the success of Amazon’s same-day delivery service ‘Prime Now’, tech strategists, entrepreneurs, and society, in general, has come face-to-face with the fact that the on-demand model has already landed and expanded! People don’t want to stand in grocery lines or spend hours talking to someone about the best flight deals. Not when they could be spending hours watching Netflix or kicking back at a beautiful Airbnb property. Having established that there’s an on-demand app to meet every consumer need, you are probably wondering, what comes next?
Future Predictions of on-demand services
Today, regardless of whether you want to shop, need groceries or even if you want personal services of professionals all the way from beauticians to butlers to dieticians – chances are if you use smartphones, you are probably using on-demand applications. On the flip side of the coin – chances are, if you own a business or work for one, you probably want to leverage the flexibility and profitability of on-demand applications to attract and retain more customers by using on-demand services to provide smarter, faster, better user experiences.
Let me demonstrate this using an example. The food delivery app, Swiggy, has taken the indian market by storm – out-maneuvering more established players like Zomato and Uber (Uber Eats to be specific). How did they do this? Sure, they created an on-demand application just like everyone else. However, the future of on-demand will require much more due-diligence than just coming up with an aesthetically pleasing on-demand app. Swiggy considered the entire user journey – both online and offline. Where previously, their established competitors were suffering from poor logistics and slow delivery times, Swiggy went ahead and hired their own delivery staff. They disrupted the market by taking charge of the logistics to provide a better consumer experience – think supply chain management ‘marries’ instant meal delivery. This is exactly where the on-demand industry is headed – improved user experiences leading to market disruption. In fact, industry experts are predicting that increasingly, even larger legacy companies will try to partner with or acquire disruptive on-demand businesses.
Untapped potential in the on-demand services sector.
Technology is disrupting businesses at a staggering pace. The on-demand services model has captured the market. Some of the smartest brains of our generation are behind these disruptions that are revolutionizing previously ‘non-digital’ business sectors like grocery, restaurants, laundry, home services among other industries.
Make no mistake, however, this is just the beginning. The on-demand applications and services industry is still in its infancy and you can be sure that many businesses in the personal services, human resources, hyperlocal markets have barely scratched the surface of the on-demand market. There’s a vast scope for growth in these areas that remain untapped by the on-demand market.
There are plenty of industries that lack on-demand services – this is an opportunity that startups, entrepreneurs, and tech companies can leverage for business growth. Areas such as child-care services, specialty retail stores, restaurants, cleaning services, laundry services would benefit from the use of mobile technology not only for delivery but as a way to keep their operations efficient.
The Swiggy anecdote makes one thing perfectly clear – in the coming months and years, on-demand will grow to encompass everything from application development, user experience, logistics, technical expertise, product design to HR management.
The businesses that get in early on the app development game will be more likely to become successful market disruptors and out-do their competition. Think about this: A Technavio news report published on Business Wire discovered that the Global online on-demand home services market will grow at a CAGR of close to 49% between 2017-2021. You do the math. In 2018, there is immense scope for on-demand services to expand into new sectors and disrupt existing markets.