The Coronavirus pandemic has sent the global economy into a tailspin. Although it is hard to see the full picture of just how bad it has been damaged. The clearest evidence comes with job loss numbers and the mass closure of both big and small businesses. This includes companies filing for bankruptcy, closing doors temporarily or even lay off employees. The global economy is expected to shrink by about 5.2% in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, making it one of the four most severe downturns in 150 years, the World Bank said on 15 June.
The pandemic is affecting consumers in emerging markets differently from their counterparts in mature markets. Emerging-market consumers are both fearful and guardedly optimistic. With swelling numbers of middle-class and affluent consumers (MACs), exposure to other economies, sprawling city clusters, limited health care, and smartphone-influenced digital habits. Based on observations, this outbreak is also providing opportunities for some industries mentioned below –
Medical Service & Healthcare Industry
During the epidemic, online medical platforms, like Ali-health and Tencent HealthCare, have provided free online diagnostic services. This helps to screen out suspected COVID-19 patients from common cold patients, alleviate the shortage of offline medical resources, reduce the cross-infection risks caused by human contact, and enable more citizens to experience online medical treatment. The outbreak also stimulates the growth of telemedicine. Hospitals are increasingly willing to try and benefit from telemedicine. In the next two to three years, telemedicine is expected to become more widespread.
What’s more, people’s awareness of life and health has been enhanced. This will promote the development of medical equipment, medical supplies, and pharmaceutical industries and stimulate domestic demand for health care products and life and medical insurances. The global marketplace is witnessing high demand for health and wellness products. Home sanitization practices and products will continue to be needed, as well as home delivery services, home fitness solutions.
Increasing worldwide demand for Cleaning services. Several cleaning companies have seen an increase in requests for additional services as people are being reminded to constantly clean and disinfect all commonly used areas, offices and facilities to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Once this pandemic is over, there will be a high demand for continuous cleaning at a new cleaning level.
As the coronavirus continues to spread, fitness studios around the world are shutting their doors and adjusting to a new reality. Now it releases on-demand virtual classes. The whole notion of a “virtual” trainer will now explode into other exercise modalities as well.
Once the pandemic has been reduced, one of the conditions for businesses to re-open will be to conduct regular employee screenings before an employee enters a business workplace. The medical green light can help to take employees’ temperatures to try and ward off the spread of the coronavirus. So, who will provide this service? New companies will pop up to provide employee screenings as they enter the building.
E-Commerce & Digital Payment System
This pandemic, while a potential death blow to physical retail stores, will accelerate e-commerce to even higher levels. E-commerce will never look back and even more niche e-commerce opportunities will surface. A new era of ‘touchless commerce’ will be characterized by AI-driven personalization and immersive digital experiences. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will help customers experience products before they buy and in large part will replace the need for traditional retail stores and showrooms. More of this sort of technology will come online soon, combined with no-touch deliveries and after-sale service and support designed to help ensure social distancing.
Now, to avoid being infected by the COVID-19 virus, consumers who have formed the habit of online shopping are becoming more likely to order food and choose daily necessities and fresh food online instead of going to an offline supermarket. Fresh food e-commerce is seeing explosive growth. Consumer demand for the following products has also increased significantly – Disinfection cabinet; Dishwasher; Sweeping robot; Auto wash phone; Ultraviolet disinfection lamp and High-quality imported food and health care products.
E-commerce stores are offering many different shipping options to accommodate customers. According to Retail Touchpoints, 88% of online shoppers are “willing to pay for same-day (or faster) delivery services. Be mindful of how you plan to ship products to your customers. Faster delivery could help you land even more sales in 2020. Take these emerging trends into consideration as you move forward into the uncertain business landscape we are now facing. We’ll get through this! Who will continue the service long after the pandemic is over? Other startups will focus on niches delivering what never used to be delivered.
One area that is continuing to see innovation is how we pay for goods and services. Alternate payment methods like Apple Pay, PayPal, and even bitcoin have all become increasingly prevalent, and you can leverage these options to gain more customers. ACI Worldwide estimated that 55% of e-commerce purchases would be made with alternative “non-card” payments in 2019. You can only expect these numbers to increase in 2020 as more people become comfortable with the new options available on their smartphones.
With the emergence of online markets and trading, it is important to point out that payment will be online also and not physical. This will give birth to an increase in online payment platforms which will facilitate the transfer of money from the buyer to the seller securely and quickly. Give your customers more ways to “no-touch” pay, and you’ll be more likely to earn their business.
The digital age and the Fourth Industrial Revolution have created platforms that enable individual contributions on a large scale. it seems clear that in the short term “remote” work arrangements – transfer from large commercial office complexes and from concentrated city centres – will become more common for a substantial part of the workforce. Businesses are being forced to either halt or severely curtail their operations, which is having a knock-on effect on the “Gig economy”.
The “Gig economy” is a nebulous term that experts have adopted to describe an emerging worldwide trend in digitally-driven freelance work. The Great Recession gave rise to the Gig worker a decade ago, and the model looks likely to expand. In the medium and longer terms, the pandemic may also support trends toward a more Gig-based workforce in sectors of the labor market that are not currently significantly gig-based. Specifically, for Virtual assistant, web developer, Graphic designer, content writer, video editor, Digital Marketing area and much more. We should take this opportunity to create harmony between individual enterprise and the collective good.
Another emerging market is online education. Schools have now realized that they can actually teach their students via the internet and not always have them physically present in the school. Online education has seen the rise of online learning platforms both locally and internationally where one can study and get some sort of educational certification. This market has a limitless opportunity because the entire sector of the economy can buy into this to offer studies, training, consultancy and personal development coaching etc.
As the world is adjusting to a new normal, consumer behaviour is also expected to change rapidly. The COVID19 outbreak has fueled demand for home entertainment and consequently television and streaming platforms have seen significant growth which is likely to persist in the future as well. Gaming has accelerated in this crisis, Netflix and others have seen a tremendous rise in viewership. Advertising will significantly move online altering the manner of advertising. Investors will be backing next-generation companies that can bring entertainment to the masses on a one to one basis.
The global video game market is forecast to be worth $159 billion in 2020, around four times box office revenues ($43 billion in 2019). The greater interest in gaming may accelerate a shift – already underway – towards the delivery of games via mobile and cloud-based platforms. As technology advances rapidly, conferences and exhibitions will no longer require a physical presence. So, there will be tremendous opportunities in the area of virtual exhibitions where corporates can come together, network, watch live events, and much more.
IT & Software Industry
The IT sector is projected to explode post-COVID-19. Since most emerging markets are technology-driven, the need for IT services will increase due to mobile app developments, website developments, E-commerce, learning platform development and management. The global business intelligence software market size was valued at USD 24.9 billion in 2018 and is expected to witness a CAGR of 10.1% from 2019 to 2025. The BI software market is segmented into cloud business intelligence, mobile business intelligence, social business intelligence, and traditional business intelligence.
Rising usage of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram are also expected to drive the demand for the social business intelligence segment to manage the rapidly growing user data. The software allows small and medium enterprises to analyze their corporate data and to make decisions to drive profitability and growth in the market.
Fitness apps, gaming apps, comedy apps, entertainment apps and health apps will be in high demand post COVID-19 and app designers will be in high demand to create them. Brick and mortar Stores may transfer to online, which requires new websites and software to cope with the situation. Online stores will need good graphics for them to market their goods, this is where graphic designers or branding companies come in. Businesses have now learned how to utilize remote working tools and applications that are providing value while cutting overhead costs. This will facilitate the growth of the telecommuting related industries, including remote office tools, such as cloud services, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), web video conferencing, multi-person collaboration platform, and digital services, as well as IT staff remote services. When you work remotely, all of the sudden standard applications will come under cyber hacking attacks. Building better versions of either application or browser-based secure solutions will gain new levels of funding from investors.
Find ways to provide value to your customers through digital platforms when face-to-face meetings aren’t an option. Find a way to give your customers a valuable resource or service for free and stay in touch about opportunities for them to purchase other services later. Collaborate with other small businesses — especially those with offerings that complement yours — to help boost sales for both of you. If you have the materials and capabilities to do so, design and produce products needed in today’s marketplace. Together, you can do more than survive in the coming months.
So, the Covid-19 outbreak has not just impacted businesses globally but also fueled new business opportunities and innovations. Things will never be quite the same. However, some of these shifts will continue, creating a long-term digital disruption that will form businesses in the future. It should be realized that for all industries, the outbreak is both a “crisis” and an “opportunity” bringing short-term pressure on some industries as well as opportunities to adjust the structure of the entire industry to meet newer needs.
The “winter” hits some businesses, but those businesses who are smart, agile, and creative will survive and can gain a larger market share “when spring comes”.
SK. REAZUL ISLAM
Youth Ambassador – Rajshahi (NYF20-A207)
NATIONAL YOUTH FOUNDATION