You’d have to have been living in a very large black-out bubble not to be aware of the catastrophic impact Coronavirus has delivered to the Universe over the last 5+ months. Indeed, it’s brought the world to a complete standstill at worst and to a very large pause at best.
As a result, there are many businesses and whole industry sectors that have struggled to stay afloat during this time, and many are still arduously negotiating their recovery back onto their feet, some with greater gusto than others.
Then, there are those industries who have absolutely smashed it out the ballpark and been able to take full advantage of the crisis that COVID-19 has brought to the world – home entertainment, the virtual meeting industry, cyber-security companies, the gaming industry and e-learning resources to name just a few.
A fascinating article by LoveMoney.com this week detailed the range of sectors who not only have benefited from the plight of the millions of people who’ve been impacted by the virus (which let’s face it, is pretty much the entire human race in one form or another) but actually look to profit from the pandemic in the coming months and years.
In summary, here’s a glimpse at those sectors well worth reading about, to see what lessons WE can learn and swipe and deploy into OUR organisations, to ensure WE survive and thrive at the end of this bizarre situation we’ve all found ourselves in….
Virtual Meeting Industry
One of the companies at the forefront of the virtual meeting industry is Zoom, which has boomed during the crisis, seeing its stock price surge by over 100% in just two months! Google has made the premium features of its Google Hangouts platform completely free until the end of September and Microsoft has seen daily users of its MS Teams platform jump from 32 million to 44 million during March.
And it seems, this surge won’t disappear as companies adapt the working environment to suit the new normal world of work as it unfolds, as it’s likely there’ll be more flexibility for remote working in the future. Having honed their home working space and enjoyed the lack of a commute, many workers may opt to work from home more frequently and platforms provided by Microsoft, Google, and Zoom are likely to still be in high demand to keep colleagues connected even when everybody is allowed back in the office.
Cybersecurity has always been big business – and an increasing dependency on digital tools such as virtual meeting platforms means that our data is more susceptible to hacking than ever before. Coronavirus has proven to be one of the biggest threats to cybersecurity, as scammers are taking advantage of the global population’s uncertainty around the disease. Compromising business emails and sending spam email campaigns have been particularly popular and many attackers are using the names and logos of trusted companies, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), to get users to click on dangerous links, according to cyber security company Proofpoint.
The pandemic has caused many companies to move their services online and for many that move has been rushed, meaning that not all necessary steps may have been taken to ensure that data, such as confidential customer details, are as protected as they need to be in this age of rising cybercrime. Cybersecurity is an area that businesses may well now start to re-evaluate the importance of and we may well see money being pumped into this sector, to ensure that companies’ online users are safe and secure.
Many parents have had to become full-time teachers overnight, as schools across the world have closed their doors and online learning resources have boomed in response. In China, technology was already eating into the traditional education system, with AI resources supplementing, and in some cases, replacing real-life teachers. The restrictions put in place as a result of the coronavirus have forced the education system to move online, and now that that initial step has been taken, it’s possible that the traditional classroom will be altered post-pandemic and e-learning will continue to take precedence – even once schools reopen in September.
When asked about the future of technology in education, 63% of university leaders predict that prestigious universities would have full university courses available for online study by 2030, according to a survey carried out by Times Higher Education.
And it’s not just our education system turning to online resources. Lockdown has prompted many of us to try and master a new skill to pass the time – from learning a new language (languages app Duolingo saw a 148% increase in signs-ups during March) to cookery lessons with top chef Gordon Ramsay, writing classes from best-selling authors such as Dan Brown and drama classes from the likes of Natalie Portman. As many people take those skills into the real world post-lockdown, the e-learning industry has a high chance of substantial growth.
Online Fitness Industry
Valued at over £80 billion, it’s safe to say that the fitness industry was already booming pre-Coronavirus and the smart business owners in this sector have ensured this boom has continued through lock-down. Our very own Joe Wicks is perhaps one of the most notable examples, as hundreds of thousands of households tuned in for his child-friendly workouts each morning. Wicks has raised his profile, as well as a lot of money for charity – and even as things return to ‘normal’ within the fitness sector, it’s very likely that Joe Wicks will have created a massive, loyal fan base that will see him set (even more so) for life from this moment on.
Many fitness fanatics will be desperate to get back to the gym after months of squeezing a workout into their living room, but the finance-conscious and those who appreciate the privacy and flexibility of exercising at home may be keen to stick to their new exercise schedules. The science behind habit formation suggests that exercising regularly over a prolonged period of time – on average between one to two months –will build it into a habit, and so by the end of lockdown, it’s expected that home fitness fans are likely to keep up their home-workout plans, which can only be good news for the online fitness indsutry.
As people started to avoid public transport in many cities in the UK and across the world, in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, they turned to more traditional methods of getting around – with walking and cycling being the two biggest ‘new’ modes of transport. The cycling industry is booming right now – orders are taking several weeks or months to be fulfilled due to the massive increase in sales and the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) reported a boom in bike sales and those coming in to have their bikes repaired of over 100%!
The trend is set to continue long after the pandemic has subsided, as governments are encouraging the usage of bikes. New York is closing 140 miles of streets to cars, to allow for bikes and pedestrians, a move which could become permanent, while Seattle plans to permanently shut 20 miles of streets. Here in the UK, Boris Johnson has pledged £2 billion to the cycling cause, offering £50 vouchers for bike repairs, bike lessons for everyone and the introduction of thousands of miles of new bike lanes across the country.
The coronavirus pandemic has offered existing gamers ample time to hone their skills, as well as the opportunity for non-gamers to see what all the fuss has been about! In March, the release of Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons saw sales that trumped all of the series’ previous games combined. Similarly, game streaming platform Twitch saw a 10% increase in its global usage in the same month, according to gamingindustry.biz. Video games sales are definitely on the rise thanks to the pandemic, and it’s possible that gamers may find it difficult to shake the habit once the world returns to its pre-COVID-19 state.
Next week, I’ll take a look at another range of industries which look to set to boom post-Corona and see what WE can do to swipe and deploy some of their energy, tactics and game-play to help US get back on our sling-backs (or man boots) and start smashing it once again!
Until next time – stay safe and keep FIT!