Passion economy and horizontal marketplaces have helped women to pursue their dreams and monetise their skills during Covid-19 and beyond
Spark.Live reports that women professionals led from the front during the pandemic in 2020 across multiple service categories including, but not limited to, yoga teaching, sewing and embroidery classes, nutrition advice, therapy sessions, digital marketing courses, alternative healing, and dance classes for children and adults. This survey by Spark.Live, the first-of-its-kind multilingual live online services marketplace for domestic and international users, is based on 200,000 sessions that took place on their platform from March to December 2020. Horizontal marketplaces are enabling women to pursue their passion and take charge of their lives, even as the pandemic threw traditional jobs astray.
While women professionals gave the service, interestingly, it was primarily women themselves who availed of these services from home during Covid-affected times. Over a hundred thousand women took some online class or another, where they could upgrade a life skill like learning sewing to earn some extra income for their family, or learn a calming technique like yoga. The findings revealed that over 20 thousand young and middle-aged women from Tamil Nadu learnt skills like sewing, stitching clothes and embroidery to support their husbands.
Another finding was that staying at home compelled women to take to healthy living like never before, with over 60 thousand women from middle-income families attending lifestyle classes and sessions from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Zumba became increasingly popular, in tier-1 and tier-2 cities, both among children and adult women. Over 40% of fitness classes booked by women were Zumba, with the rest divided between Yoga and freestyle dance.
There was a rise in mental health consultations availed by women. About 78% of therapy consultations happening on Spark.Live are by women and for women, leading to a tightly knit community of people who are closely associated with each other. An important reason for the shift to online psychological counseling, especially in regional languages, could be the privacy and comfort that online therapy sessions provide. The surge was seen more among middle-class families, especially in West Bengal and Mumbai.
Women were seen taking charge of other members in the family too, including the elderly and, of course, children. 65% of diet consultations happening online were for the elderly and booked by the women of the family. The survey also highlights 200% growth in the number of bookings for extra-curricular activities for children. With kids locked inside the house, families have been looking for fun, two-way online engagements like Zumba, music, arts and crafts which could be done with a community of children.
Speaking about this, Soum Paul, Founder and CEO of Spark.Live, said, ‘Passion economy and horizontal marketplaces are a new digital segment that have grown in popularity in recent times, more so among women. As the core elements of social media and ecommerce, they are helping people turn their passions into income sources. Our recent survey has revealed how these platforms have re-ignited the desire among women to pursue their passion while also helping the family financially. They have also started actively taking care of their mental and physical health. These are positive trends and the future and growth of the passion economy looks bright in the times to come.’
The Spark.Live findings has brought to the forefront other interesting observations. Online health guidance has become the norm in Tier-2 towns. There was a 70% surge in middle-aged people doing yoga and nutrition consultations from home. Reiki and Angel therapy as alternative ways of healing gained popularity as well since these therapies can be done online without the need for a physical interaction. With jobs getting scarcer, spoken English and digital marketing courses online also saw an upward curve. In other news, there has been a demand for traditional Indian martial art forms like Kalaripayattu, which is being taught online for the first time.
Spark.Live has enabled those whose businesses got impacted by Covid-19 to turn it around and generate revenues from live online services. Expert dieticians, nutritionists, mental health professionals, therapists, yoga and fitness trainers, dance and music teachers, offer their consultations and conduct classes via the platform. It is currently the only horizontal marketplace for live online services with over 2000 daily sessions.
In the last six months, Spark.Live has seen phenomenal month-on-month growth, with users availing online services in categories ranging from diet, fitness and therapy, to career, education and skill development. The app’s expert professional retention rate is close to 100%, with a number of them coming from Tier-2 and Tier-3 Indian cities. With its range of offerings, Spark.Live has emerged as the one-stop service with multiple online services on a single seamless platform.