Coronavirus is shaking up the business and consumer behavior on a massive scale. Both the public and private sectors are scrambling to slow the spread of the illness and contain COVID-19 infections. While the full economic consequences of this black swan event are still unclear, we know that the effects of the virus—and the drastic measures which are being taken to contain it—are already precipitating change across the industries. Here are the top three ways Business Insider Intelligence and eMarketer analysts think the pandemic is set to impact the telecoms and technology, digital media, payments and commerce, fintech, banking, and healthcare.
In terms of trade, China is the world’s largest exporter and second-largest importer. It accounts for 13% of world exports and 11% of world imports.
Up to a large extent, it will impact the Indian industry. In imports, the dependence of India on China is huge. Of the top 20 products (at the two-digit of HS Code) that India imports from the world, China accounts for a significant share in most of them.
India’s total electronic imports account for 45% of China. Around one-third of machinery and almost two-fifths of organic chemicals that India purchases from the world come from China? For automotive parts and fertilizers, China’s share in India’s imports is more than 25%. Around 65 to 70% of active pharmaceutical ingredients and around 90% of certain mobile phones come from China to India.
Therefore, we can say that due to the current outbreak of coronavirus in China, the import dependence on China will have a significant impact on the Indian industry.
Certain eCommerce brands (especially online grocery and food delivery) have just added millions of new customers to their loyal user base, since during and before the lockdown these companies have proven to be reliable, and convenient in stressful times, and have delivered 10 to 20 essential articles to several new segments of buyers far sooner than that tipping point would have been reached in normal times.
Chinese online retailer JD.com has stated that its online grocery sales grew 215% to 15,000 tons during a 10-day period between late January and early February
Retail, luxury, cruises, large-scale travel (big hotels and theme parks) may keep suffering as awareness and avoidance of large crowds will be etched into people and will not be easily shaken off.
The economic packages of governments are in full effect, with local administration offices, and accountants and lawyers working overtime to process all requests. There will be a change in mindset, and possibly a recession in countries, depending on how fragile the economy was before the lockdown and how the government response affected the confidence of its businesses, investors, and consumers.
Consumers Become Hyper-Focused on Shopping Local
There’s been a growing trend to shop locally. But millions have been furloughed or unemployed, many from local businesses including retail shops. In many places, keeping dollars in the local community and supporting small businesses post-pandemic will become more important than ever.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see local restaurant days or other small business days pop up across the country. Communities have a way of coming together after catastrophes like New Orleans did after Hurricane Katrina.
Local businesses should invest in growing their online presence and their email and SMS subscriber list for when things return to “normal.”
E-Grocery Delivery Goes for a Ride
Online grocery adoption has been slow in the U.S., but the coronavirus pandemic may turn out to be the catalyst grocers have been seeking.
According to CivicScience, 47% of consumers said they were shopping for online groceries more during the week of March 22, 2020, compared to only 11% just three weeks prior. And a recent Gordon Hasket Research Advisors survey conducted on March 13, 2020, found 41% of those who ordered food online during the previous week were first-time online grocery customers.
Apptopia reported a spike in app downloads for e-grocery services. Walmart’s grocery app downloads increased by 160% and Instacart by 218% compared to the average in February.
Online businesses that have gained probably 100% new users within 2-3 months will have the chance to build on the trust and confidence they have been able to win under these special and trying circumstances.
Brands with clear stock descriptions, investment in logistics, clear messaging, fast sites, well-optimized shopping carts, responsive deliveries will stand out from their market peers and are here to stay.
Luxury and specific travel/hospitality industries won’t bounce back for probably up to a year after the lockdown, and only when the human craving for connection and adventure becomes a primal need again.
Administration offices, accountants, and lawyers will be swamped with bailout packs and lead generation in those areas will be key. The focus should be on acquiring new customers between the moment the bail-outs are announced and the economic packs are received to assist businesses and people that need help.
Businesses that lock in the best customer support specialists, usability experts, conversion experts, speed optimizers, and developers in this boom will win market share.
Self-care (gyms, fitness equipment, mindfulness, yoga, spiritual practices) will experience a boost, gardening and time with family (games) will be in high demand for up to a year after the lockdown is lifted.
So, how long will the “new normal” last?
Human behavior takes time to change and studies show that takes around 66 days. Once habits are built, especially in trying times, they tend to be associated with feelings of safety, adequacy, and convenience because they afforded these feelings when things were out of control.
Education Will Change, Drastically
As of March 13, the OECD estimates that 421 million children have been affected due to school closures announced or implemented in 39 countries. While in Spain it’s illegal to homeschool, we now see that this is the way schools will have to interact with students and trust parents to incorporate the homeschooled children or children in lockdown, back into the educational system.
The stigma around “homeschooling” will be mitigated to a large extent, since homeschooling will (and is being) vocally supported by the aware and the conscious as something to stick by, even if the effects of the pandemic start to slow down. Social media is full of positive images of parents turning their homes and gardens into “kid laboratories” and teaching them about plants, insects, and other facts of life through doing and touching, to supplement textbooks.
Even if parents do not innovate with the more “touch and feel” way of imparting education, the reliance will be on digital devices and the internet to continue with learning. While most “study rooms” are at this point in time makeshift, as the mindset shift takes root, parents will be investing in items and supplies that support healthy home education.
Mental Health Will Be the “New Gym”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on physical health and going to the gym used to be mundane, regular, and even encouraged.
Sadly, open conversations around mental health are stigmatized and often associated with weakness. But now buddy calls”, “video tea and coffee times” are heavily attended by office members. They are a moment for reflection, sharing, breathing, and bonding.
As the world grapples with the more imminent threat of survival, the pressure is higher than what the existential threat of climate change could ever achieve. According to the CDC, people with pre-existing conditions of anxiety will need to be extremely vigilant about their mental health since forced isolation may worsen symptoms.
However, even people who have not been diagnosed with anxiety may experience stress and burnout. It is so much easier to be vocal about a feeling of uneasiness when the world is in chaos. And hopefully, the mindset shift of prioritizing mental well-being will translate into proactive steps to consistently feel better, as the pandemic subsides.
The old normal of being immune to stress and anxiety might not have a place in the new normal. Apps like Equanimity, Calm, InsightTimer, Wysa, and PTSD Coach have shown a better way, and more apps with discreet user policies and actionable advice from experts, tailored for different users will come into the picture.
Hygiene Will Be Better Than Discounts
At the height of the infection, online brands may have adopted new hygiene practices and measures to ensure that consumers trust them enough to order and become loyal users.
As the spikes in infection start to flatten out, the new considerations around what constitutes a solid logistical approach and a sustainable supply chain will continue to incorporate many learnings from the pandemic, including:
- Shifting models that were previously largely dependent on brick-and-mortar stores online. Alibaba started delivering pharmaceutical supplies through its eco-friendly delivery arm Cainiao. While this isn’t wildly innovative, it was not the norm either.
- Building hygiene into the design of delivery models. Think of it as the impact of the GDPR on the hygiene of “data”. How much touching is actually needed to deliver the products? How can the items be packaged and handed off to delivery personnel to mitigate the chances of “breach”? How can the impact of deliveries on the environment be minimized?