Looking around for a minute, look at the number of closed shops in your locality, the amount of malls, multiplexes, public parks etc that carry a deserted look. For millions of individuals and businesses today, the threat of COVID-19 outbreak is financial ruin.
Let’s put aside the empty store shelves and social media videos of frantic stockpiling, today most businesses and brands are primed to lose revenue during Covid-19 uutbreak. This is also going to affect workers, especially the ones in the service industry who are less likely to have paid time off if they’re sick.
Markets are down today because a majority number of events abroad imply bad business conditions are coming in the near future. The pandemic does not have to get worse to impede the economy; we never know when more cases will emerge though. If people stop going out or if the government encourages ‘social distancing’ to curb the likelihood of an outbreak, it will hurt companies across many sectors, be it from mom-and-pop restaurants and film distributors to major airlines and the alcohol industry.
Next comes the issue of global supply chain. Financial analysts predict that there will be a ‘ripple effect’, from supply chain disruption, slowing down the production of familiar country specific goods. The overall scope of a supply chain disruption is yet to be determined because no CEO can actually know their company’s complete supply chain. The suppliers have suppliers of their own, who may, in turn, even have a third layer of suppliers. Put simply, if a business is relying on a coronavirus-impacted country for production or has a significant overseas customer base, this outbreak can have a drastically negative impact on its sales and manufacturing.
Even though economies around the world are being hit disastrously hard, there are some who are seeing gains out of this pandemic at least temporarily, if not permanently. Let’s have a look at some of those sectors.
Cloud computing landscape has been on the rise for many years now. Today more employees find themselves restricted to their homes and more workloads will have to be migrated to the cloud ensuring the business can function as usual.
For the companies dealing in cloud, the coronavirus outbreak is effectively making few organisations go through a very rapid digital transformation project, to embrace the cloud and mobility trends. If we look at it from the perspective of IaaS, it means more money. From the perspective of SaaS it means more engagement and PaaS more opportunity.
AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are benefiting the most, though for companies like Oracle, who might be working with more traditional industries that have resisted evolution to date, new conversations about enabling the workforce will have to occur.
Video conferencing and collaboration
The next big thing people move towards when asked to maintain social distancing is video conferencing and online collaboration. Majority of businesses are encouraging more meetings to be conducted via video links rather than email, ensuring effective communication as well as the well-being of employees. Getting in touch with your colleagues via video link cannot be deemed perfect, but it might assist some who are feeling the loneliness of remote working.
Microsoft was one of the biggest beneficiaries here when it announced that the number of daily active users for its Teams collaboration suite increased by 12 million, though there are many others who are financially better off also.
Take the example of a video calling & meeting app like Zoom; the parent company Zoom Communications is a remote conferencing services company headquartered in San Jose, has seen share price increase 130% since the beginning of the year, while more marketers are turning to companies like ON24 to purchase webcasting and webinar services to ensure lead generation projects can continue. It is also being used as a virtual classroom – elearning solutions where students can study from home, ensuring they do not miss out on their syllabus.
Such companies are being forced into a digital transformation where some of the remote working capabilities will be retained in the long-term, but virtual alternatives are never going to be a complete replacement for face-to-face meetings.
Another major industry where the likes of Visa, Mastercard and AMEX are already benefiting from long-standing trends where physical cash is quickly becoming insignificant and out of trend. The COVID-19 outbreak has pushed this industry forward.
There are many shops only accepting digital payments, though as the total number of transactions are decreasing, so will revenues. in the long-term this can force customers into adopting digital payments.
Just like the trend of cheque books took years to fall out of common usage, as banks and shops were still compelled to accept such payment when offered, a similar scenario could happen with physical cash. However, in refusing to accept physical payments, many shops are forcing some individuals to adopt digital payments.
This will definitely not be a permanent change for all, but it might be for some. It is in terms of both, the consumers who adopt digital payments and the shops who will now only accept digital currency.
Streaming, gaming and video content platforms
The most obvious and inevitable example from the entire list is the video streaming industry. Talking about video streaming at home, parents need to keep their children occupied while adults need entertainment too as pubs, clubs, theatres, parks, beaches, holidays and gigs all disappear.
Let’s come to Netflix; it is already immensely popular, but with more people stuck at home in the evenings, it may well become more so. And this benefit will reach out to all major streaming platforms.
Thinking of video platforms outside of streaming, YouTube is enjoying particular success. There are people who are trying to entertain themselves, along with gathering millions of hours of information, where some being much more accurate than others, on the pandemic itself.
Lastly, from the perspective of gaming, this is back to the boredom conundrum. Usual entertainment venues are shut down, pushing the need to entertainment up for the consumers. The likes of Microsoft Xbox, Google Stadia and PlayStation are likely securing additional subscriptions as well as in-game purchases.