Thousands of businesses have closed since lockdown measures were placed, but not all have lost during the pandemic. Here are 5 businesses that won and thrived despite COVID-19.
No one has expected that 2020 would be a huge turning point for many business-owners. The UK economy has especially faced the biggest decline in 300 years, with the GDP dropping by 9.9%.
In the first half of the year alone, right after lockdowns were announced all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 11,120 shops across the UK shut down — twice as many as businesses shutting down during the same period in 2019. The ones that continue to operate, meanwhile, suffered from a reduced workforce and an economy slump.
It’s both surprising and interesting to see, however, that not all businesses went downhill during the pandemic. In fact, many businesses actually flourished despite the restrictions.
Here are the business sectors that have thrived during the pandemic:
Medical services and medical supplies — there hasn’t been a more abundant time for this business sector than today. With challenges to public health, more and more consumers take charge of their own wellness.
Telehealth services or online medical consultations became in-demand during the pandemic. The face mask industry also came out with an overwhelming revenue of $7.24 billion in 2020 from $2.86 billion in 2019. Market studies suggest that this could go up to $21.2 billion by 2025.
Although online shopping is not a new concept, the pandemic has hastened the conversion of the majority of shoppers. Surveys showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has truly changed online shopping and ecommerce forever. More people now shop online, and more businesses sought out digital solutions to run their stores.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), “For the first time, digital technologies offered an alternative channel for maintaining business activities, social interactions and consumption in times of strict preventive measures such as lockdowns.” As a result, online purchases across most product categories have increased by 6 to 10%.
Of course, you can never really shop online without the help of delivery services! Since most people are kept at home during the lockdown, more consumers ask that stores send their orders straight to their doors.
Just like online shopping, delivery services have been around for years, but the pandemic has accelerated the industry’s growth to 7.2%. Now, there are at least 11 million online food delivery users in the UK alone.
Do you remember when people rushed to the supermarkets to stock up on essentials after COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic? Thepandemic? Or what about the infamous fights over rolls of toilet paper? Yikes! Although those times were crazy, the panic-buying was the prelude to the thriving industry — one of the “essential businesses” allowed to operate during the lockdown.
The lockdowns surely domesticated many people that they now prefer to cook their own food if they’re not getting food delivered to their homes. This is why grocery stores stood strong – if not stronger – during the pandemic. In just the first 3 months since lockdown measures were put in place, UK grocery sales grew 14.3%!
Public Health England reveals that “volume sales of food and drink purchased for consumption at home in the year to date up to the week ending 21 June 2020 is 11.1% higher than the same period in 2019.” Looks like we’re not the only ones suffering from lockdown belly! The growth in numbers is assumed to be due to families spending more time at home. Some households also have older children coming back from college or university. This means more food in the house!
This rise in the industry is expected to continue and is poised to have a sales increase of 10% by 2022.
The attention that the tech industry gets is obviously not new. It’s not surprising either. However, it was magnified when most people started working from their homes. According to data, the number of people in the UK working from home rose from 21% to 24% in 2020. All of a sudden, physical meetings became zoom calls; business was done online. Even the businesses we previously mentioned leaned on the convenience of technology. It bridged the gaps left by the effects of COVID.
It made sense, therefore, that the tech industry soared during the pandemic — it was and still is the giant medium people cling to when it’s almost impossible to go out. Although one day there will be no need for face masks or social distancing, the growth is not expected to stop now that it has occupied a huge part of people’s daily activities.
Patterns suggest that the consumer behaviour is now more centered towards the self — both for wellness and convenience. It’s definitely not all closed doors for businesses during the COVID crisis after all. The numbers are bittersweet, but it also shows that there is still so much hope in these business sectors despite the limitations brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.