In times of crisis, the old wisdom is proven true. Someone’s misfortune can be great a great opportunity for others. It is no different today, when because of the pandemic, some are closing down companies while others are failing to meet demand.
When crisis becomes opportunity
Perhaps the most obvious silver lining of the pandemic was experienced by online retail. While shopping malls were closed and people were trapped between four walls, the biggest online retailer, Amazon, is on its way to quadruple its profits this year.
Although most people buy clothes, shoes, fashion accessories, and digital devices online, the sale of food has also increased significantly last year. Retailers who were able to adapt to the new situation ‘overnight’ were able to mitigate the decline in traffic. For example, America’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer Walmart, recorded a 97% increase in online sales (August 2020).
In the flood of new offers online, it is crucial that retailers know how to address consumers as effectively as possible. Many are helping themselves with personalized advertising through the BehaviorExchange platform. At the same time, now that people are shopping online abundantly, it is high time for retailers to start collecting data and building their customer intelligence base.
Many smaller suppliers of goods recognized the opportunity in time and, by increasing capacity, managed to break off a piece of the pie from large retailers. Before the pandemic, few conscious consumers ordered local vegetables, fruits, and bakery products to their home. Now it seems like every other person is receiving an “eco box” delivery.
Measures to curb the spread of the pandemic have hit social-life related industries the hardest. Individual attempts to conduct concerts and dance parties online certainly cannot make up for the loss of revenue. The same is true for tourism, which practically does not exist at the moment. Many charming cafes, trendy bars and popular discos have had to close their doors forever.
The pandemic changed e-commerce forever
If we believe the results of a survey conducted with approximately 3,700 consumers in nine world economies, the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed online shopping habits. A study titled “COVID-19 and the Online Store” examined how the pandemic changed the way consumers use online shopping and other digital solutions. It included Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey.
Since the onset of the pandemic, most consumers are more likely to shop online and rely further on the internet to keep up with news, health information and for digital entertainment. Consumers are also becoming interested in traveling around their own countries, which will have a major impact on global tourism in the future. Most people now use new communication tools (video conferencing, etc.) more often at work and in their free time.
According to experts, these changes in consumer behaviour will be a mainstay even after the pandemic.
Changes in healthcare
This year, more than 400 million visits to the doctor took place via video cameras. Demand for virtual reality and cloud services will grow, Deloitte analysts said in a forecast for the technology, media and telecommunications sectors.
“The covid-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated technological advances in many areas and changed our lives and work. Many technologies aimed at both businesses and consumers will continue to open up new opportunities for business systems around the world,” said the partner and head of consulting for Deloitte in SE Europe Mitja Kumar.
The effects of the pandemic include the growth of the telemedicine trend, which includes medical consultation via webcams. The global pandemic has not only encouraged the removal of legal barriers to such visits, but also helps consumers, especially those over the age of 65, to understand and use video calling apps, the analysis said.
“We expect the share of virtual visits worldwide to increase to 5 per cent in 2021 from an estimated one per cent in 2019. This growth is significant as 8.5 billion visits to the OECD countries were recorded in 2019. They totalled about $500 billion,” they pointed out.
Virtual is becoming the new reality
The virtual reality gadget market is on the rise as immersion technologies in education and business are becoming increasingly popular. According to Deloitte, sales of virtual, augmented and mixed reality gadgets, also called digital reality, will grow 100 percent this year compared to 2019.
According to some statistics, the cloud services market grew faster last year than the year before. Restrictions on movement and an increase in work from home have led to the increased demand. “We expect revenue growth in the sale of cloud services to exceed 30 percent by 2025, as companies move to the cloud en masse due to lower costs, greater agility and the easier introduction of innovation,” Deloitte said.
Sports was also made digital
Although there were fewer sporting events last year than the year before, the potential for growth in this area is not smaller. Deloitte Global predicts two major trends in sports: increased monetization of women’s sports and the beginning of an era of the hyperquantified athlete, driven by the use of digital technology.
“It looks like women’s sports will exceed a billion dollar valuation in the near future. Just as covid-19 has revolutionized many areas of society, women’s sports will be marketed and commercialized in new ways and we will experience it in a different light,” they announced.
Another change in sport, according to them, is related to the collection and analysis of data on athletes. “With the increasing timeliness of this data, it is possible to perform measurements both inside and outside the body. This gives us hundreds of new parameters that form the basis for decision-making and the beginning of the era of the so-called digital athlete,” they explained.