COVID-19 will not be with us forever. It will however shake up the economy, and its economic remnants may stay with us for the foreseeable future.
It is increasingly likely that people will be self-quarantining in their homes for weeks at a time and limiting their socialisation for much longer than that. These behavioral shifts are creating rapid changes in our economy. There will be both short-term and long-term impacts as consumers and businesses are forced to change their behavior radically for weeks or months.
We are entering a new reality: The stay-home economy.These shifts are also likely to change how people work and shop far into the future and accelerate the pace of changes already underway. While some of the hardest-hit industries such as hospitality, travel, and entertainment industries are sure to come back to life, other changes might be longer lasting. Perhaps organisations will begin to see value in remote work and allow employees to continue it after the pandemic passes. Shoppers may be less interested in going to the grocery store once they’ve grown accustomed to home delivery.While many businesses will struggle with the shift to a stay-home economy, both companies and content publishers are poised to thrive, especially through a relationship called affiliate marketing.
These are some of the businesses and industries that have gained a boost from COVID-19 and will remain with us beyond the pandemic:
REMOTE WORK AND EDUCATION SUPPORT
It is likely that millions of employees and students will spend a significant time teleworking and participating in distance learning. As a result, there will likely be a spike in demand for items to ease this transition such as laptops, flexible cell phone plans, headsets, monitors and superior WI-FI. Businesses that provide this enabling technology and equipment can capitalise on this with special pricing and promotions.
DIRECT TO CONSUMER BRANDS
Home delivery services have been surging in the past decade, but as people are encouraged to avoid crowded supermarkets and big box retailers, you can expect direct-to-consumer providers of clothing, over-the-counter medicines, cleaning supplies, and even home decor to see an influx of new customers. It’s fair to assume many new customers will continue buying from these brands after the pandemic has passed. Buyers will be also looking for publishers and content websites that spotlight the latest deals and advise on the best products so these sites should expect a huge bump in traffic.
As consumers are increasingly avoidant of public spaces, the restaurant industry will likely be hit the hardest. Because people will be eating at home as often as possible, both direct to local delivery apps such as Mr D and Uber Eats will have the chance to serve an increasing number of home diners. And as with direct to consumer vendors, these businesses may gain customers who try their services for the first time and stick with them well after the COVID-19 threat has dissipated. Companies who deliver will also need to recruit thousands of new delivery people in the coming months to accommodate demand, so advertisers who can help promote these opportunities will do well, and university students who are home early should be good targets to earn some extra income.
Streaming giants such as Netflix were already dominating the entertainment landscape, and they’ll only see the demand increase. In South Africa, this market will create a major opportunity for content owners to find an innovative way of distributing their content. Music streaming companies should see an increased interest from people who suddenly have much more time to listen to music.
AUDIOBOOKS AND E-BOOKS
With public social activities limited, kids and adults will need to find ways to pass the time. And while purchasing physical books may not be practical during the pandemic, consumers will find the instantaneous accessibility of eBooks and audiobooks enticing when they are facing another weekend stuck in the house. This will be another area where eBooks sellers such as Loot will thrive as well.There’s also a new-found opportunity for publishers who create book reviews and recommend book lists as people begin to research what to read and listen to during their time at home.
GAMING AND E-SPORTS
Video games are a dominant market force as is, and they’re the perfect activity for both parents and kids who are isolated in their homes. Not only will game-sellers profit, but online gaming platforms such as Twitch will likely see a significant uptick in users who visit more often, and for longer periods of time. With these platforms drawing so many eyeballs, they’ll become key places for advertisers to invest in, especially to reach younger buyers. Esports will also see a surge in popularity. While in-arena esports events will be cancelled, these video game leagues are prepared to move entirely online. An industry that was already tracking toward $1.5 billion in 2023 may grow even faster—and become highly valuable to advertisers.
VIRTUAL AND VIDEO TOOLS
Even as the stock market plunged in the past two weeks, the videoconferencing leader Zoom is one of the few stocks up this year, and is earning press coverage for giving services to schools for free. As soon as this company fixes its current challenges with security it will see further rise.
Other remote software providers such as GoToMeeting, Asana and Slack are likely to experience a similar upticks in demand as more employees work remotely and government and non-profits learn how to go digital and virtual. This will speed up a transition that was already underway, and many organizations will likely continue to rely on these tools after they return to the office.
VIRTUAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
Perhaps the most-dire need during the COVID-19 outbreak is for virtual health services. Individuals will be more wary than ever of sitting in a medical waiting room or standing in line at the pharmacy. Companies that either provide prescription deliveries, such as CVS, or allow virtual consultations with doctors, like Roman, will likely draw more patients than ever before.
OPPORTUNITY AND STAY HOME ECONOMY
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the stay-home economy that accompanies it, will change much of the world even after the threat has diminished. Many companies have an opportunity to provide vital goods and services during a stressful time—and build lasting consumer trust in the long-term.
Businesses in these industries can capitalise by creating a great initial experience for new customers. As people research products that can make isolated living easier, they will likely gravitate toward publishers and websites who have credibility showcasing products in these industries. The stay-home economy will drastically change the business world. However, companies who are smart and use this time as an opportunity to innovate will look back on this as a turning point for their businesses.