The coronavirus pandemic has brought large swaths of the world economy to a halt. The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, recently predicted the epidemic might lead to the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. The IMF said there will be a 3% drop in global output in 2020, the worst in recent history.
Industries Thriving During the COVID-19 Crisis
There are massive concerns about the virus’s impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. A lot depends on how effectively the virus is contained and the launch of a vaccine in time. Besides, many countries are facing a health crisis, a financial crisis, and a collapse in commodity prices, altogether adding to the woes of a falling economy. Specific industries bearing the brunt of the virus are the travel, tourism, hospitality, transport, retail, manufacturing, and auto industry.
The cumulative loss to global GDP over 2020 and 2021 from the pandemic crisis could be around 9 trillion dollars, greater than the economies of Japan and Germany, combined, says an IMF report.?But there are some industries that are doing better than most in these hard times.
The e-tailers or e-commerce business is seeing a surge with people ordering online. Amazon and Kroger both have advertised jobs to keep up with demand as consumers stock up for the pandemic. Amazon is also taking advantage of the surge and has announced plans to hire as many as 100,000 workers. It should be made clear here that it is fast-moving consumables that are driving the industry at the moment.
Investment and hedge funds with deep pockets are looking to invest in public companies, and lending money to enterprises that are seeking funds. There are signs of activity in the alternative lending market, which Preqin, a data firm, estimates has $58 billion in untapped lending power in North America. In the coming months, big private equity firms will look to buy stakes in strapped companies and maybe even full-blown takeovers down the road.
With most people under lockdown, demand for telecom services has gone up. Data shows that mobile data traffic has risen. Work from home and the lockdown has raised data usage. Companies offering telecom services like video conferencing and related office suites are also seeing an upsurge in demand. Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, GotoMeeting, Facebook Messenger, and similar services are updating and scaling up services.
With physical call centers and operation centers closing down, technical support calls are booming. Especially with the increase in remote work, more people than ever need support with setting up devices or troubleshooting errors.
Health and Pharma
Pharma, diagnostics, and related industries are doing well too. Health is a priority right now, and medicines are in great demand. Pharmacies and diagnostic centers are working overtime to fulfill prescriptions.
People are talking of the restaurant businesses taking a big hit but there are some enterprising restaurants that have turned to online delivery models. Papa John’s is doing roaring business and has even advertised for additional personnel to fill in the orders. Changing from sit-down to takeaways and automating the process as far as possible, keeping the no-contact delivery model in shape, has helped out many restaurant chains to keep the fires burning.
Online courses and skill improvement businesses
Skillshare, WhiteHat Jr. Skillsoft, etc. which are offering skill improvement, hobby, and diverse other classes for people locked down, are doing well in these hard times. The companies are offering free courses and discount packages for professional courses. WhiteHat J’, an online platform teaching ‘coding’ to kids, had launched its coding tutorial services in the US before the lockdown, and after the lockdown, it saw a 200 – 250% growth in enrollment.
“Prior to the outbreak, we were growing 40 – 50% every month… But once the lockdown was in place, our growth skyrockets, “ said the CEO of the company.
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