In many different aspects, the past months of the pandemic have been associated with negativity. Economies have struggled with rising unemployment, millions of workers have been furloughed, and economists have pronounced risks of recession – with the baseline forecast envisioning a 5.2% contraction in global GDP in 2020.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Pollution levels around the world have decreased, humanity has come together in unprecedented ways, many new innovations were introduced, and small businesses are now increasingly optimistic about the future. Likewise, there are various industries that have stepped up during the pandemic and rebuilt themselves to best match the shifting consumer needs.
Let’s take a look at six different sectors that have found themselves in a favorable position as a result of COVID-19 and are likely to grow further in the months to come.
With imposed stay-at-home orders, shopping behaviors were radically disrupted. Almost overnight, consumers turned to digital platforms to purchase anything from groceries to hygiene products. The growing number of online buyers, together with higher average spending per buyer, means that the US eCommerce sector could grow by 18% this year.
New buyers are now entering the online retail space, proven by the 12.2% rise in shoppers above 65 years of age. As eCommerce becomes the ‘new normal’, the field could see a second wave of growth – one that could last into the next 8 quarters.
- 5G Technology
The average daily fixed broadband consumption per user in the US grew by approximately 3GB in the first two months of the pandemic. Just like that, the number of 5G subscribers has been growing as well, generating an increase of 308% quarter over quarter.
So, while the ever-disputed network technology is seeing rapid advances, this is merely the beginning. With the accelerating implementation of digital services, the speed of connections will be paramount to the growth of many sectors – and that’s where 5G comes into play.
Home workout videos were a huge hit in the ‘90s, and the pandemic has brought them back into vogue. The only difference is that instead of clumsy VHS, you now see Gen Zs exercising to the latest videos of YouTube fitness influencers.
But exercise is only a part of the story: We’re witnessing a whole personal health revolution, with our immune system seen as the greatest asset in the face of the pandemic. And industry experts now believe that in the post-COVID world, wellness will be even more pertinent. Consumers will leverage home workout services, supplements, and wearables to take more control of their own health.
Mass online open courses and eLearning have proved particularly useful for those home-bound consumers looking to expand on their skill sets and use their time productively. Likewise, it has become the only viable modality for millions of students around the world to access education in a safe way.
eLearning became a convenient option that erases the boundaries education traditionally possesses. Now, information is accessible from anywhere – and internet connection is often the only requirement. Platforms like Coursera have seen this first hand: Since mid-March, it has welcomed over 10 million new users, six times more than in the same period last year.
- Streaming Services and OTT
Throughout the pandemic, our entertainment was shrunk to any activity that can be carried out at home – with streaming and video services often being the first choice. Even despite reductions in non-essential spending, different platforms turned out to be a very cost-effective option for many consumers.
Time spent on digital media has increased – and subscription video has captured a large portion of this time. 51% of US respondents reported watching these services more due to the pandemic. Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, and other providers have seen impressive growth and are likely to maintain it in the months to come.
As COVID-19 made close human interaction undesirable, technology emerged to fill the void. Artificial intelligence and robots are being increasingly implemented to ensure operational efficiency even during times of social distancing. Countries like China, the US, and Russia are now deploying bots for essential cleaning, shelf stocking, and monitoring.
In hospitals, specialized robots are used dedicated to disinfect rooms, distribute medicines, and deliver blood samples. Supermarket chains are experimenting with floor-scrubbing bots roaming the aisles, and consumer-oriented delivery companies have been expanding their operations both on earth and in the air – with drone deliveries.
The pandemic brought various radical changes, and we were forced to adapt out of necessity. However, many of the newly adopted behaviors actually show great convenience and efficiency – something that could not only drive the growth of these six industries in the future, but also completely rewrite the fundamentals of our modern lifestyle altogether.
Sudip Saha, COO of Future Market Insights, an award-winning market research and consulting firm. A growth-oriented business professional with vast experience in market research and project management across verticals in APAC, EMEA, and Americas, Sudip is a strong believer and proponent of innovation-based solutions, with an emphasis on creating customized solutions to meet varied client needs.