The coronavirus outbreak is a human tragedy that has affected and continues to affect thousands of lives, with a growing impact on the global economy. Whilst global markets are crashing on account of COVID, there are several companies that have also benefited from the outbreak. The following sectors are expected to thrive post-COVID by aggressively investing in opportunities and growth.
Video conferencing and business collaboration platforms: Work-from-home policies, social distancing, and government lockdowns have augmented the demand for video conferencing apps, for both business and personal use. As a result, business conferencing apps are experiencing record growth of downloads. Applications such as Zoom, Skype, and Webex are seeing increased usage along with an increase in the company’s sales and share prices. The world’s commitment to remote working has made these companies more valuable than ever.
Healthcare sector: The healthcare sector, which is a vital sector, has had to rapidly add capacities in the wake of COVID-19, in terms of acute-care capacity, ventilators, and other critical medical supplies. Countries with strong and adequate healthcare infrastructure have been able to handle the resultant strain caused by the virus, as compared to those with poor and inadequate healthcare infrastructure. The pandemic has brought to attention the importance of healthcare infrastructure, which will lead to continued investments in the sector going forward.
Telemedicine services: Opportunities have also emerged in telemedicine due to the unprecedented and forced social distancing, which ranges from physical therapy to mental health, and also reduces the risk of healthcare workers.
Pharmaceuticals: In the context of the current situation, the pharma sector has gained prominence. The challenges faced by pharma companies are hindrances in supply chains, delayed clinical trials and disrupted ability to communicate with physicians and other medical forums. The incremental innovation essential for premium-price drugs will continue to rise, as will pricing pressure on commodity products such as generics and biosimilars. Given the scope of the current pandemic, pharma companies will be exploring new opportunities in anti-viral and anti-infective medications, which is likely to increase the funding/ investments in new research, pharma and biotech companies.
Ecommerce: Due to restrictions in movements in various parts across the world, products and services will need to be delivered. There has been a significant rise in demand for delivery of medical supplies and protective clothing, groceries, and food deliveries. The demand for online shopping has increased significantly which has led ecommerce companies to add more jobs and increase capacities to manage the surge in demand.
Entertainment, gaming, and online media: As more people stay home, self-isolation and quarantine measures have increased media consumption and use of entertainment services such as video-on-demand and gaming. Increased viewership of entertainment streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ has been reported.
Fitness applications: As physical gyms appears to be no longer an option currently, there has been growing interest in home workouts. Home workout applications and fitness-tracking gadgets sales have experienced increased demand, given the popularity of home exercise.
Cyber Security: The demand for cyber-security has increased significantly in recent times as a result of Covid, as more businesses conduct operations in a digital environment and there is a shift towards focusing on security operations, risk management, intrusion detection and network monitoring. As more individuals and businesses cope with doing business online, cyber-security will become a core technology that will help in keeping online users and transactions secure. Post-Covid, investments in digital technologies are likely to increase as businesses will look at innovative ways to improve their digital offerings across a wide range of sectors.
Conclusion: How should we navigate this crisis? The answer is to act across five stages to return to the next normal after winning the battle with coronavirus.
Resolve: Taking care of the immediate challenges presented to the stakeholders
Resilience: Addressing the near-term challenges like cash management and other resiliency issues
Return: Device a plan to return to normal business operations quickly as the after-effects become clearer
Reimagination: Come up with post-pandemic reinvestment plans
Reform: Have clarity about how regulatory and competitive environments may change
The importance to observe leading indicators, of how and where the pandemic is growing, and conduct scenario planning using both epidemiological and economic inputs, is crucial at this stage. In the wake of the new reality, we will see a dramatic restructuring of the economic and social order moving towards the next normal.
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