I continue to receive a steady stream of COVID-19-related editorial pitches. Most are not directly related to the office imaging industry. But some of those pitches offer pertinent information useful to any business owner even if some of it validates what many of us already know.
A recent pitch included an article written by John Williams, head of marketing at Commercial Property Specialists Instant Offices, that identified the industries likely to be the most resilient after the pandemic along with characteristics of resilient companies.
Following are edited and condensed highlights from Williams’ article, “The Importance of Being a Resilient Industry Post COVID-19.”
Thriving and Adapting
- With travel restrictions and social distancing measures in place, mobile communication platforms, e-commerce sites and “home comfort” services have seen a significant increase in demand. Zoom, Netflix, Domino’s and Blue Apron all saw a notable uplift in their stock price index during the month of March.
- Most schools and universities have closed down but continued operations online, meaning the education sector has experienced a relatively low impact. Analysts predict that online learning will become the “new normal” as education institutions expand their online offerings.
- The property and commercial real estate industry has been significantly impacted by the lockdown. Operators are quickly reacting to offset this by offering virtual tours to help companies gather information and plan the next steps for when restrictions are relaxed.
Lessons from Post-COVID China
Trends in China are helping to shape predictions for how businesses bounce back in the future. A recent Statista survey on the impact of COVID-19 on Chinese society asked 5,859 respondents aged between 18 and 60 years which industries are likely to recover the fastest after the crisis is over:
- Medical Education – 38%
- AI – 36%
- Internet – 32%
- e-Commerce – 31%
- Delivery & Logistics – 25%
- Healthcare – 23%
- Live Streaming – 22%
- Scientific Research – 20%
- Data Services – 19%
- Software Technology 19%
Sectors Most Likely to Benefit from “Revenge Spending”
Many shoppers are waiting to splurge after restrictions are lifted, and this “revenge spending” will boost sales in several industries. We are already starting to see the revenge spending trend in post-lockdown China, with the luxury brand Hermes alleged to have seen US$2.7 million in sales at its flagship store in Guangzhou just a day after reopening. These sectors are most likely to benefit:
- Online education (e-learning) service providers: Professionals will be looking to improve and expand on their skill sets as the job market transforms. Parents looking to make up for lost time in their children’s education will be more likely to invest in quality online learning.
- Sports and physical wellness: Consumers will be eager to return to gyms and fitness centers after being at home. As a result, sports equipment and facilities are expected to see a rise in demand.
- Healthcare and pharmaceuticals: Families will be stocking up on supplements and replenishing their first-aid kits in anticipation of future COVID-19-like events.
- Consumer electronics: These “non-essential” items will see a surge when they become available to purchase again. More consumers will be looking to upgrade or replace faulty electronics. Many will also be looking to set up more reliable telecommunication systems to make remote working easier.
- Logistics: More spending on imported products will lead to an increase in shipping demands.
It is predicted that the majority of this buying will take place online. Consumers will have grown more comfortable with virtual shopping and virtual entertainment, such as streaming movies and live events.
What Makes a Resilient Industry?
The industries that have experienced the least disruption – and will likely see the quickest recovery – are those which have at least one of the following in place (or which can adjust to make the following possible):
- Ability to work from home
- Scope for rebound
- Use of temporary employment contracts
- A robust online business model with a focus on business continuity
Williams offered examples in the retail and business services sectors.
Resilience in Retail: The retail sector can make use of temporary contracts to reduce overheads, and the rise of e-commerce is giving the industry better scope for a rebound. Some retailers are also experiencing a surge in demand as buyers stock up on food products and other essential items, for fear of possible future shortages.
Resilience in Business Services: Advances in telecommunication mean the majority of the business service industry now has the ability to work remotely. This means the sector has the potential to rebound well and to adapt to future challenges. Meanwhile, demand has fallen for “support services” like cleaning, catering, and security. Data center services and video conferencing providers are seeing a significant surge in demand as more businesses turn to these online applications.
Looking at the predictions from China and the trends emerging around the world, expect the most adaptable industries to bounce back the fastest, especially those that enable consumers to buy products, services, and experiences digitally rather than physically.
For more detailed information on Instant Offices’ full research, click here.
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