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Pandemic Uplift Astrology Business
Estimated to be over $40 billion, as per media reports, the Indian spiritual and religious market is booming.
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As the pandemic has brought the nation to halt people are suffering all over again. Some are grieving at the loss of their loved ones; others are seeking survival tools in a stagnated year while a few are cribbing the luxury of boredom. One thing they all look out for is the light at the end of the tunnel. The desire for support, connection and normalcy is as unprecedented as the pandemic situation.
Due to repeated lockdowns now people are worrying about their health as much as they are drained off their wealth. The gloomy times have created an urge to find remedy in search of which Indians are flocking to astrologers. They seek to know what lies ahead and find solutions to current health and financial problems in a country where Covid-19 cases have rocketed to 27million, the second-highest in the world - with more than 3lakh deaths. Amid these uncertain times people have been running behind astrologers for everything ranging from wealth to weddings now more than ever.
According to Google Trends, searches for “birth chart” and “astrology” had both hit five-year peak last year. However, astrology as a business didn’t rise out of nowhere in the pandemic. Astrology has seen massive growth as a business in past few decades. Estimated to be over $40 billion, as per media reports, the Indian spiritual and religious market is booming. Out of this, the horoscopes market in India alone is $10 billion, with about 2 million astrologers practicing astrology.
Vedic astrologers, Palm readers, Numerologist, Vastu consultants have also seen a surge in their business. Like most of others they too have been experiencing the #workfromhome pressure with the constantly increasing number of consultations every day. Physical appointments have now been replaced by virtual consultations over zoom calls. The rising number of phone calls, video calls have swamped the astrologers with work days as long as 10 to 12hrs a day.
The film industry has always been a significant clientele for astrologers. Today, as theatres are locked and shoots are on halt the uncertainty in the industry has increased and thus, made many actors, directors, musicians and producers to rush to their astrologers for remedy. Similarly, we can’t deny the fact that politicians are into hot waters in the pandemic as well. Indian polity has a history of consulting astrologers. The challenges of post- pandemic politics have made politicians and their astrologers are inseparable. Since 2020, having faced a challenging year fuelled with brutal accusations from the opposition and public dissent, politicians are anxious about their future. The precariousness about coming back to power has made them fall back on the shoulders of their astrologers.
People are also frequently visiting astrology websites and connecting with astrologers to know their post-corona future. Both independent astrologers and online astrology applications have seen a rise in consultations. The life-altering conditions of the pandemic have caused great uncertainty which has made astrology a service to rely on. Statistics prove that here has been an immense surge in the number of downloads of astrology apps over the last few months. Several astrology based Start-ups have indicated a growth of 10 to 30 percent and online applications have reached one million plus downloads on Google Play store.
These numbers clearly indicate the abundance of information online about celestial movements which has transformed astrology from a devout subculture to a subject so popular that there is scope of greater misinformation. As information has proliferated online, the actual expertise someone is expected to have when identifying themselves as an astrologer or positioning them as an authority on the subject has gotten somewhat murky. One never knows the face behind their screens. Thus, problem often lies in the accuracy of these online astrologers. Think for yourself, would you rather trust algorithm based derivations for your life or an astrologer who studies your birth chart in detail in accordance with your past experiences and present problems?
Data theft has become another major privacy concern while using these apps. Online astrology applications require you to fill in a lot of personal details that are misused for the sake of business. This narrows down the user to a data point in the mystical version of big tech. The apps that claim ‘Free astrology consultation’ come at the cost of your privacy. They sell your data to advertisers and generate revenue. So what is claimed as free is rather a way to cash you! Though astrology is a form of advance mathematics, a soul and spirit can never be dealt with hypothetical data. However, Astrology cannot be dealt in binaries. It is not the 0s and 1s. These AI crafted horoscopes are a no match to private consultation with your astrologer who scrutinizes and derives the implications of your past and present to draw conclusions. Astrology is analogical and symbolical thus, best dealt with a personalized approach.
Yet, as much as astrology has changed the internet, the internet has changed astrology. The world of technology is not all gloomy but has also come with a strike of light in these challenging times. Personal astrologers have digitalized their business and now shifted to zoom calls, video chats, live streaming for their consultations. This has widened their market and scope of potential customers. The traditional astrology has now taken a turn to the world of technology and is all set to reap maximum benefits.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.