The novel coronavirus that erupted in Wuhan, China last year and has since brought the global economy to its knees has not been unkind to all market sectors.
In fact, more than a few segments are thriving during this pandemic and for different reasons.
Whether social distancing has made a new way of living more appealing or the constraints of the virus itself have made old ways of doing things impossible, pretty much everyone is being thrown back onto their heels to try and fight it out for survival in this brave new world.
Naturally, some of the pandemic’s most immediate winners, economically speaking, evidence this pivot to the home space on the part of the consumer.
No longer welcome in many public venues and, even when they are, their activities are constrained, consumers are looking for new ways to do things they used to enjoy with groups of people.
But that’s not all: From a renewed focus on health to a newfound love for do-it-yourself projects, here are five sectors that are thriving during the pandemic:
It’s no surprise that the healthcare industry, among others related to medicine and wellbeing, is thriving during the novel coronavirus pandemic. But it isn’t just demand for services that we are seeing a spike in but also a marked increase in the logistics surrounding healthcare as well as personalized, in-home care. Also, a longrunning gag of the industry that has since become one of the most potent forces for change because of COVID-19, telemedicine and teleconferencing for health appointments has skyrocketed in use, leading many to suspect that, in the future at least, these kinds of routine appointments will be handled virtually rather than in person.
Year over year, the sudden spike in demand for gardening equipment and supplies can really only be attributed to the fact that more people are spending time at home now than ever before. We’re talking growth in this sector by huge multiples, with robust rises particularly concentrated in the do-it-yourself market as well as in growing vegetables and fruits at home.
While not seen as part-and-parcel with the general economic pivot being forced on the economy by COVID-19, the general trends in the home and gardening sector point to a renewed focus on activities centered around the home and which involves some element of self-improvement or self-sufficiency.
- Home Fitness
Unsurprisingly, as many consumers are forced to stay inside more and more of them are turning to home gym equipment in order to fill the void left by the closure of gyms due to the spread of the virus. This boom is mainly concentrated in fitness equipment sales and manufacturing but also in classes and other events that can be held in the house. Think products such as Peloton and other customized trainer programs. While it is unknown how long this trend will have salience in the market, one aspect that many economists highlight about this being a more long-term factor than others is the fact that home gym equipment is not cheap. This kind of sunk cost might incentive consumers, well after the pandemic has passed, to continue to use their home gyms over any public space. Given this, the home fitness market could continue to boom well after the pandemic has passed.
Here analysts also point to what they call a paradigm shift or the perspective of the consumers in this segment being permanently altered by the events of COVID-19. In other words, what was once unthinkable has now become the new normal and it might be hard to return to the old way of doing things. Indeed, the more and more money consumers spend on bringing the often very specialized equipment found in the gym into their living room, the less and less likely it is that they will be willing to renew or return to expensive gym memberships.
As many restaurants are closed, another area where the home is retaking the public space is cooking. Now that many consumers cannot go out to enjoy their favorite meals they are left with two options: Order out or make it at home. As many social media posts have indicated, and as market numbers are proving, the number of consumers that are now attempting to make food at home has skyrocketed. Again, this is a difficult trend to read after COVID-19 because, unlike home gym equipment, cooking doesn’t often require a huge investment into various materials and appliances to make it happen.
Nonetheless, there is a sunk cost element to this aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic as well. As more people become accustomed to shopping at home and doing everything at home, those that adapt and start cooking from home will have less incentive to stop once everything has cleared up. The question for analysts here is how much this trend represents a new way of doing things or simply a hobby that has grown into prominence during the shutdown. In other words, the resilience of this trend might be in question but one thing is certain: As long as the pandemic rages, consumers will have to make do with new ways of doing things such as cooking for themselves and eating at home more often.
- Business Logistics
Teleconferencing and Internet-based business logistics have experienced the greatest increase in business during this period than any other sector. This is not surprising as many businesses have transitioned to a work-from-home arrangement. Again, the resilience of this trend might be a question for analysts post-COVID-19 but the general move towards teleworking and using the Internet to accomplish many in-office tasks is not a new one.
While adoption post-pandemic might remain uneven, this could be a huge paradigm shift in the way people perform office tasks. Companies specializing in and providing these services will not only continue to thrive in the future but also will become ever more integral to it. The only thing that remains to be seen is what ways life is changed permanently by the pandemic and then what companies are able to set the new tenor of how to work in the modern era.