Photo: Patrick Schneider
The spread of Coronavirus has sent shockwaves across the global economy. With such a devastating human cost to the pandemic, the imposition of lockdowns has successfully limited the spread of the virus, albeit at the cost of production.
In the coming weeks and months, the world will return to varying degrees of ‘normality,’ but is the same true for various industries? It’s certain that different sectors will recover at different rates, with some needing more time to regroup and return to operations.
For other industries, the opposite could be true. Certain technological fields have been experiencing unprecedented growth even in this time of isolation, and both history and current trends indicate that other industries may be set to boom in the months after COVID-19 as well.
While many of us will remember the crash of 2008, the circumstances behind the current market crash will be unprecedented for the vast majority. So let’s take a look at what industry recoveries may look like after the pandemic, and explore which sectors might thrive following the return to ‘normality’.
Since the arrival of Coronavirus, shares in Zoom, a video conferencing app, have leaped over 120 percent. Elsewhere, Slack’s collaborative platform has experienced a seismic rise of 25 percent in share price.
As global lockdown measures have forced the world to work from home (WFH), remote collaboration tools have experienced a profound rise in popularity. Given the circumstances, some may assume that the collaborative technology industry is experiencing a bubble that will inevitably burst once governments allow workers to return to their offices. However, for many companies, the pandemic has acted as a large-scale road test for WFH readiness — which, for many decision-makers, will have proved that a transition towards more remote work is possible.
The benefits of WFH are far-reaching: companies can save money on in-house supplies, servers and utilities, while workers can eliminate their commute and work in a more comfortable environment.
With future developments in the fields of augmented reality and virtual reality promising to make remote collaboration even more immersive, it’s reasonable to expect more businesses to embrace technology to enable WFH initiatives after the virus. Collaboration technology is undoubtedly set to flourish over the coming years.
The pandemic has also prompted widespread investment in global healthcare. $120 billion pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly recently joined forces with a biotech startup in a bid to fight the threat of Coronavirus. “We’ve never moved at this pace before,” explained Eli Lilly’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dan Skrovonsky.
The COVID-19 outbreak has reaffirmed the need for investment in both healthcare equipment and pharmaceuticals. While the industry is understandably volatile as world health services struggle to keep up with demand, it’s a safe bet that many governments will look to secure their future against future pandemics faster.
Expect to see plenty of investment in life-saving protective equipment and vaccinations in the months and years following Coronavirus.
With millions of people unable to work due to the outbreak, it’s not surprising to see that online gaming has surged in terms of usage. With very few alternative ways to kill time while in isolation, more money is being spent on buying and accessing video games.
In China, the first nation to experience widespread isolation measures, players spent over two billion yuan (around $280 million) on one of the nation’s leading mobile games, Glory of the King, in a single day, marking a 50 percent increase year over year.
Coronavirus has caused the world to slow down somewhat, allowing time for people across the world to discover, or recapture, an enthusiasm for online gaming. With reports of Nintendo Switch sales more than doubling in March compared to the same time last year, along with increases in Playstation and Xbox sales, it’s fair to expect the burgeoning user base to continue to find time for video gaming long after the end of international lockdowns.
Online learning is another industry that’s flourishing during Coronavirus-enforced isolation. In March, over 27.5 million hours was spent on Cornerstone Learning — indicating that users are choosing to invest their newfound free time wisely.
Online education platforms will be widely used after the Coronavirus pandemic, thanks to a widespread transition among businesses to offering more WFH options for employees. It’s also fair to expect more usage from employees who have found themselves between jobs due to the crisis, and are looking to pick up new skills as they re-enter the job market.
Counterintuitively, car manufacturers could perform exceptionally well following coronavirus as well. It’s reasonable to expect sales to fall following such a disruptive event, but Seeking Alpha notes that following the 2002 SARS outbreak, it was actually the automotive industry that recovered fastest.
The logic behind the rise in car sales is relatively straightforward. When the public believes that commuting on public transport isn’t safe, the demand for automobiles will rise.
The months following Coronavirus could see a rise in road traffic as people return to work reluctant to put themselves at risk of infection. It may also be some time before people fully regain their comfort with taking public transportation — and sharing their space with other commuters — following a prolonged period of isolation.