Industries That Flourished During the Pandemic
We spent most of our 2020 reading about all the terrible consequences of COVID-19. In the hopes that the next couple of years will deal with the aftermath of the pandemic in the best possible way, it would be good to reflect on how the Coronavirus affected the world of business. It’s not a secret that many industries suffered from the pandemic (some, like the travelling industry suffered significant losses). However, some industries flourished during the lockdown and the entirety of 2020. Even though plenty of companies worldwide are still struggling to stay afloat, others have seen profit increases and are very likely to continue doing so even after the pandemic. But what industries flourished during the pandemic, and why?
Personal protective equipment
It’s pretty evident that the personal protective equipment sales have skyrocketed in 2020, and has been one of the most talk-about and most wanted pandemic resources. One of the reasons this is so, apart from the fact that we are trying everything we can to stay as healthy as we can be, is that PPE has expiry dates, so the need for these supplies is constant. These do not only include face masks and sanitary gloves but smart safety glasses as well, as protecting our eyes proved very important. This industry is yet to boom in the years to come as we will start putting our safety first more than ever before. This industry has grown from $5.99 billion in 2019 to almost $8 billion in 2020.
Dating apps have been around for quite some time now, and the truth is that they have been trendy in the last several years. However, there has been a slowdown in app downloads sometime around 2018 and 2019. In 2020 though, when most of our face-to-face interactions have been discouraged, these apps (especially Tinder, Bumble and Hinge) saw a resurgence of downloads. What is even more impressive is the fact that Tinder broke its record in March when the lockdown started as its users worldwide swiped through three billion possible matches in a single day. Could this mean that the prediction that most people will be meeting their dates online rather than in real-life by 2034 will happen after all?
Online meeting platforms and e-learning resources
Schools shut earlier in 2020, and as a response for that, online teaching tools bloomed. Meeting platforms such as Zoom or Google Classroom have seen a tremendous rise in downloads. But it’s not only school lectures that transferred to online meeting platforms, as University students were also encouraged to use these platforms’ perks to keep everyone safe. With the new school year having started in September, it seems that online teaching will continue to thrive in the following couple of years. This is one of the predictions regarding our education – many predict that by 2030 prestigious universities will be fully offering online courses. On the other hand, all business meetings and conferences were also conducted online through such platforms, so it’s safe to say that these online meeting platforms became a valid symbol of working during the pandemic. Zoom, the most popular online meeting platform during the pandemic, reached 300 million users in April of 2020, while its revenue soared by 169%.
When the pandemic started, one of the concerns was how it would affect our bodies, especially after the lockdown, when we were unable to hit the gym or complete our daily workout session. Due to this, gyms and fitness studios had to transfer online, thus creating an entirely new way of working out. This was an incredible way to work on your workout routine even if you’re stuck at home, and it’s definitely something that many fitness lovers enjoyed in. It’s also one of the few industries that will undoubtedly continue offering both offline and online services.
What else was there to do during the pandemic than stay at home and enjoy the small hobbies that make us happier? This is why one of the most popular pastimes during the lockdown was playing video games, so it’s not unusual that this industry boomed during 2020. Twitch, the most popular gaming network at the moment, saw a 10% increase in its global usage during March, the month when the new Nintendo game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out, while viewership increased by more than 70%. The gaming industry really boomed during the pandemic, and it seems that this trend will not go away anytime soon – it is expected to grow in market size from $167.5 billion in 2019 to $290 billion by the year 2027.
If we were not playing games or reading books during the lockdown, we were watching Netflix and chilling. Netflix is the first major streaming service, and as such, it has seen an important rise in monthly users, but it’s not only Netflix that people are paying to stream. The popularity of other streaming platforms, such as Disney +, Amazon Prime and HBO GO also skyrocketed. What we are left to do is stream our favourite movies and TV shows and see which entertainment streaming platform (if any) will snatch Netflix’s crown in the years to come.
It is not at all surprising that the pharmaceutical industry flourished during the pandemic, even before the vaccine against Coronavirus was invented. One of the reasons this is so is that we can be prepared in case of future pandemics. This market continually grows in value and is expected to reach $71 billion by the year 2025. What is also very interesting is that stocks in biotech companies that have been fighting the virus have also reached a peak, which is yet another reason that the pharmaceutical industry is of the utmost importance for the health of the global population.
Scooters and bikes
Alternative transportation methods have been popular for quite some time now, especially electric scooters that took the world by storm a couple of years ago. However, it is during the pandemic that this industry significantly flourished. Not only were people encouraged to stop using public transportation to preserve their health and spend as less time as they can around crowded places, but they were also ordering electric scooters and regular bikes online more than ever before. This was the time to start thinking about our health, and these transportation devices proved not only very beneficial as they will get a person from point A to point B, but also extremely healthy, thus killing two birds with one stone. One such example is Italy, which authorised electric scooters in March, just before the lockdown. When the country came out of the lockdown during the summer, Italy was flooded with electric scooters that did not only help the whole country deal with the rising number of coronavirus cases, but it also served as a very green and eco-friendly transportation alternative. Another very interesting statistic shows that southwest America saw a 100% increase in bike use during the pandemic, according to the National Association of City Transport Officials (NACTO). The global e-bike market is predicted to annually grow approximately 7% by the year 2025.
As already mentioned, the pandemic was the perfect timing for everyone to turn to their hobbies while staying at home. That is why France, for example, saw an incredible rise in gardening, where not only the people with gardens turned their attention towards gardening, but also the people who used whatever limited space they had (such as balconies) in order to do the same. But it’s not only France that worked on their green thumbs, as this is an industry that generally flourished during the pandemic. British garden centres also saw a rise in online sales, giving another reason to think that the gardening industry will do very well in the post-pandemic world. This industry is expected to have an annual growth rate at about 4% in the future years.
The IT industry, which is at the moment one of the most vital industries in the world, also flourished during these difficult times, yet it is the changes it will see in the future that are very interesting. First and foremost, moves to the cloud will accelerate as companies gradually shifted their computing workloads from on-premises hardware onto the cloud, giving everyone the option to work from home. Moreover, the automation technology will boom as more and more examples of AI (artificial intelligence), and RPI (robotic process automation) slowly started to make their way into businesses and companies worldwide. Needless to say that these industries and companies will only continue investing in such technologies, ultimately changing the IT environment completely. The payments industry also somewhat benefited from the situation; during the pandemic, most countries saw the benefits of online shopping. A poll conducted by AlternativePayments showed that more people now perceive cash as an alternative payment option, relying heavily on credit cards and other alternative payment options.
How will the world change after this year? How much effect do all of the mentioned industries have on our lives, and how will we live in 5 or 10 years? Perhaps we can say that we can forget life as we knew it, and that we should be open to new changes that will be coming on a daily basis. Industries and businesses will change, the way we conduct business will change, and it’s only after the pandemic is completely over that we will see what we have created out of this world.