We were not ready for the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s true!
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in an interview said,
“The fact that there was no catastrophic pandemic in recent history does not mean there won’t be another one. And we are certainly not prepared for the next pandemic.”
Worldwide lockdowns, social distancing, quarantines, travel restrictions, factory shutdowns, business closures and work from home – all resulted in devastating impacts on industries, markets, businesses, and the global economy, so much so, that experts believe that we may see another major economic recession in the coming months.
Oil prices have crashed, global shares taking a hit, economies rolling down, businesses are filing for bankruptcy, growing unemployment, and financial crisis is approaching, fast.
In short, the coronavirus outbreak has a significant impact on the global economy and industries. These are the industries that are affected the most by COVID-19, according to analysts.
Industries Hard Hit by COVID-19
According to the data released by World Tourism and Travel Council, it is projected that there will be a loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue in the travel industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The United States travel industry, the most developed country in the world, has been hit the hardest as it is estimated that 4.6 million jobs will be lost by May 2020.
The impact is 6-7 times greater than the September 11, 2001 attack on World Trade Centers. The revenues of the global air transport industry could decrease by $252 billion as compared to 2019 revenues.
The virus which started in Wuhan (China) has spread to more than 190 countries. The United States became the new epicenter after Italy and Spain. The tourism industry, which accounts for 10% of global GDP, has been put on high risk due to the current situation. 50 million jobs will be lost in the tourism sector, with 30 million in Asia alone.
It would take 10-12 months for the tourism industry to come to normal terms after the outbreak is over. The governments around the world have suggested that travel and tourism companies should remove travel taxes, make visa approval easier, and provide higher incentives to bring back customers.
Hospitality data company STR has released a report on how the hotel industry has been impacted by COVID-19. The report shows that occupancy has declined by 96% in Italy, 68% down in China, 67% down in the UK, 48% down in Singapore, and 59% down in the USA.
The decline is obvious because numerous events by large companies have been canceled, travel bans have been imposed by the governments, and people are withholding their travel plans for the coming months too out of fear of getting infected.
When STR surveyed people about their travel plans for the next 12 months. Here is what they found:
If we talk about the restaurant industry, they are facing an apocalypse. As customers are staying home and others are fearing to order online from restaurants, owners and operators are facing permanent closure and huge losses.
The layoffs have already started across the industry, especially in fine dining restaurants, seat-centric places, drive-thru.
The spread of COVID-19 is causing serious challenges to the global aviation industry, including airports, airlines, and their ecosystems.
With the fall in commercial travel, some airlines have to ground their entire fleet, while others are using some of their commercial airplanes to carry cargo.
Nobody knows when this pandemic will end, but it is believed that this prolonged disruption will cause a number of consequences on the industry. The U.S. airlines had asked for $50 billion in federal assistance with the decline in revenue.
Apart from coronavirus, other challenges that the industry is facing or will face in the coming years are fall of commercial travel due to the launch of flying taxis and electric aircraft, change is cargo operations, and the rise of hyperloop.
While the mother Earth is happy and reviving from pollution and other disturbances we created for a long time, industries are plunging down due to coronavirus.
For the oil and gas industry, some experts are calling COVID-19 situation a hellscape. The pandemic has thrown oil and gas industries into turmoil. Once regarded as the richest sector, it is now in survival mode. As people are locked inside their houses, they are not driving their vehicles. Airlines are grounded due to travel bans.
The demand for oil has plummeted. With $35 per barrel, 75% of the oil projects are not even covering the cost of capital.
The industry, which was already feeling pressure from investors due to the growing climate crisis and changing regulations in countries, is now at high risk.
Apart from the recent crisis created by the coronavirus, price war waged by Saudi Arabia and Russia can even push the industry to a lower level.
Russia can survive by charging $40 per barrel for a decade but Saudi Arabia is desperate to cash out its oil production. Whatever happens in the coming years, the oil and gas industry will never be the same.
The world heavily depends on the Chinese market for manufacturing and supply chains. From technology, automobiles to clothes, everything is sourced and manufactured in China.
As China has been on lockdown for a long time at the start of 2020, there can be supply chain disruptions. For instance, the global automotive industry, which imports more than $34 billion in motor parts from China, will be affected this year.
Not just automotive, other industries that source tools, products, and machinery from low-cost countries like China are experiencing 30-60 days production delays.
A survey by the National Association of Manufacturers, 78.3% of manufacturing facility managers believes that the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to have a financial impact on their businesses and more than half of them say that they have to change their operations in the coming months.
With the launch of 5G, regulatory changes, and now COVID-19, the pressure is piling on manufacturers around the world.
Industries Profiting from COVID-19
1. Grocery Stores
For supermarkets like Walmart and Target and only grocery shops like Amazon, BigBasket, and MilkBasket, the outbreak has countervailing effects.
From household essentials, packed foods, disinfectants to beverage items, these businesses are growing amid the pandemic. The present health crisis has clearly fueled demand online grocery shopping in India, the United States and other countries.
In a survey, 43% of people said they will continue online grocery buying. And, Amazon added 100,000 new jobs to manage the spike in grocery delivery demand.
The survey also found that demand for online grocery shopping increased by 193% in March 2020 as compared to August 2019. Even brick-and-mortar grocery stores are enjoying a spike in customers.
Another industry that is not only surviving but profiting heavily from the coronavirus outbreak and it is pharmaceutical.
Big Pharma companies are in the race to maximize their profits from vaccines and treatment for COVID-19 infection. In the US, more than 20 pharma companies are working on a vaccine for the new SARS-CoV-2 virus.
However, pharmaceutical companies around the world have promised to coordinate to find the treatment for this virus and the price will be decided by inventors.
With the increase in demand for medical supplies and equipment, pharma companies and manufacturers face difficulty in meeting the needs of doctors, hospitals, and people in general.
With the national lockdowns imposed everywhere, the world faced supply chain disruptions of active pharmaceutical ingredients and generics.
China and India are the largest producers of these ingredients and generics, so the pandemic resulted in supply chain shortages elsewhere. The US is the largest consumer of these products from China and India, approximately 45-50% of the market.
Pharma companies are expanding their production at existing facilities to compensate for the shortages. This in result will improve Pharma sector economics in the coming months.
3. Telecom Services
As employees are working from home, they are using Internet services more than ever. From Wi-Fi services for office work to OTT usage for entertainment, networks are facing difficulties in keeping up with the surge in bandwidth demand.
Landline and wireless traffic have increased by 200% during the day time while video and audio conference calls are up by 250%.
A report by Verizon Network reveals that data volume on its networks has increased by 19% in a month. Traffic in the UK has also increased by 78.6% from February to March 2020.
Google Meet’s usage increased by more than 25 times while Webex handled 240,000 online sign-ups in a day.
Comcast reported a 212% increase in VoIP and video conferencing call usage. Microsoft alone generated over 900 million meeting minutes in just one week when the national lockdowns started.
From Nokia, T-Mobile, Orange to Jio, every telecom operator reported multiple folds increase in their bandwidth usage.
This surge has resulted in the early deployment of 5G networks. There are now five 5G commercial networks and it will increase to 200 by the end of 2020.
With 5G technology, more devices can be supported by one network and devices can use the Internet with any lag.
4. Media and Entertainment
Empty theaters, empty stadiums, empty showbiz, but online streaming is at the peak. With the cancelation of events, there has been a decline in revenues for the event organizers and television operators.
But coronavirus is actually benefiting video streaming business models, like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and more.
The video streaming apps were already booming pre-COVID-19, but it seems the outbreak has provided a stimulus to its growth because more films are now being released on these platforms as movie theaters are closed as of now.
Netflix has planned to spend more than $17 billion this year on launching new shows.
Traditional broadcasters and cable TV operators are being hit hard due to the pandemic. With no sports, Olympics, and other live events happening around the world, they have nothing to broadcast and gain revenue from the advertisements.
Meanwhile, the music industry, social media channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, and the video-game market have tripled the size of Hollywood since the outbreak crippled the whole world.
Once this crisis is over and people start to step outside, media and entertainment will prosper in a balanced way.
5. Packaging Industry
The packaging industry has gained significant benefits in this health crisis. Plastics are back in the packaging of food and medical supplies.
Since customers can’t go out, they are buying packed products online rather than lose products earlier available on the markets, such as fruits, vegetables, etc.
Businesses that were about to close doors are now back in the market due to an increase in demand for packaging among health-conscious people.
China has been the leader in the packaging sector. With the emergence of first coronavirus cases in their Wuhan city, companies around the world are now shifting their focus to second-world countries like India.
As we mentioned earlier, the eCommerce marketplace is seeing an increase in business and they heavily depend on the packaging industry. Single-use plastics remain a viable option for transporting products but they are also the cause of environmental pollution, which we have been working on for so long.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought gains to the packaging industry, but we need to think about the long-term impacts on humans and the Earth.
6. Fintech and Banks
Financial technology companies have announced a 30% cut in their staff numbers, which shows the impact of COVID-19 on this sector.
Some believe there will be consolidation after the coronavirus crisis is over, while some think this outbreak will bring the next generation of fintech companies. deVere Group has found a 72% increase in its fintech apps usage.
Banking partners that had adopted digital solutions were able to stay connected with its customers remotely and are thriving well in this crisis.
COVID-19 Implications: What to Do Now
COVID-19 is an unprecedented emergency that is effecting every industry, every business, and every person. Stock indices have dropped, consumer demand has shifted, global supply chains are disrupted, and market conditions are becoming uncertain with the increasing lock down period.
The US government has launched the historic Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to pusha $2 trillion as relief fund to businesses, industries, and local governments.
The Government of Canada has launched a COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, to provide $27 billion to Canadian workers and businesses.The Australian Government is giving $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support its communities and industries.
Apart from governments’ relief funds, industries and workers need to redefine and redesign their approaches to survive the pandemic and continue business as usual once the outbreak is over.
5 R’s to Fight the COVID-19 Implications
R1 – Resolve: As a business, you need to identify the challenges COVID-19 brings to your operations and find solutions that can help you mitigate those challenges.
R2 – Reform: To reduce risks and effects of virus-related shutdowns and economic downturn on your business, you have to reform business policies, operations, and workforce management.
R3 – Resilience: This is called preparing a business continuity plan. When something goes wrong, you have to adapt quickly to continue business operations while safeguarding people and assets.
R4 – Return: When you have your business continuity plan ready, you can think how to reinvent your processes so that you can return to your business as usual.
R5 – Reimagination: Today, you need to reimagine a business-as-usual environment by focusing on people’s safety first, changing business strategies, communicating with stakeholders, and maximizing on the government support policies.
“The New-Normal” Solutions for Industries: Now, Next, and Beyond COVID-19
Businesses can lead through these challenging times by incorporating solutions, technology, and resources that enable virtual business continuity, enhance customer experiences, and support the nation.
Here is how different industries can respond to the coronavirus crisis while planning for new ways of working to emerge as a successful business.
1. Airline Industry
• Embrace digital technologies to minimize in-person interactions in commercial activities. Use chatbots, social media apps, and booking apps to enhance customer experience and avoid contacts.
• Determine dimensions of networks and fleets and use AI-based tools to get data-driven analysis for meeting demands afterward.
• Airlines should consider merger and acquisition opportunities and must think about buying or selling minority stakes in other businesses.
• Use a zero-based approach to restructure and redesign operational processes, teams, and tasks.
• Airlines will have to redesign their networks to make the right trade-offs. This will again require the use of digital technologies and technology development services provider.
• They need to start a project management office to manage cash flow wisely and stabilize regular financial processes.
2. Automotive Industry
• They need to use big data, intelligent systems and the Internet of Things to bring full transparency in communication processes. This would help to communicate shortages timely, orchestrate the response, and integrate risk mitigation workflows into the processes.
• As the manufacturing facilities are shut down, they will have to regularly communicate with suppliers, embrace industrial-IoT-technologies to increase efficiency, and establish manufacturing resilience to ramp-up work when the lock downs are over.
• As people will lose their jobs and earning, automobile demands will drop and so are the sales. Embrace digital channels to stay connected with customers, support them through the buying process, and generate leads through online car shopping tools.
• To keep the cash flowing, establish a working-capital crisis plan. Use AI technology in cash management, stay connected with banks for loans, and keep checking the financial health of suppliers and dealers.
3. Travel and Tourism Industry
• Develop a prevention plan to ensure people will have a safe experience at your hotel or restaurant. Communicate critical COVID-19-related information, such as cancellation policy, FAQs, prevention plans, safety measures, and how you are helping the community.
• Reassess your marketing strategy and revamp your website and content. Create valuable content to keep users entertained while they are at home amid the pandemic.
• Engage customers and leads through social media channels. Utilize social media marketing services to focus on the right prospects looking for future purchases from your business.
• Right now, the travel and tourism industry has to keep itself alive by focusing on branding, messaging, communication, and customer engagement. Focus on digital marketing to keep these things on track.
4. Information and Technology Industry
• As the entire world enters into work from home mode, IT companies need to be more agile and vigilant about their services and operations.
To make a seamless transition to a virtual business, you need secure, flexible cloud solutions like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, IBM Cloud, Zoho, and Azure.
• Explore cyber security solutions to protect your employees, clients, and business. Use identity and access management solutions and remote workforce management apps to ensure remote business continuity.
• Use remote service agents, chatbots, automation solutions, and digitization to engage customers virtually.
• Focus on community health by working on COVID-19 related apps and services. For instance, IBM has launched the Watson Assistant for Citizens campaign in which it is using AI and chatbot to provide answers to people’s FAQs.
Apple has released the COVID-19 app and website. Google and Apple partnered to build an API for the COVID-19 contact tracing application.
Wellness wearable manufacturer Oura is working on how to use their wearable technology to check the health metrics of healthcare professionals.
These are just a few examples. If you want to succeed in the post-Covid-19 era, revamp your development and technology solutions to meet the current demands
• The manufacturing facilities depend on the workforce to keep the business going. Once your plant opens after the lock down is over, make sure you take the necessary measures to protect your workforce.
Take enhanced hygiene measures, create workforce pods, provide additional personal protective equipment, follow physical distancing rules, and keep checking their health.
• Use communication tools for regular sharing of information and to manage attendance, boost productivity, and enhance workforce satisfaction after they come to your facility from stressful situations.
• Build resilience plans to ensure a continuous flow of parts from the supply chains and outflow of finished products. There should be a response and recovery strategy to respond to COVID-19 positive cases in your facility.
• Use digital solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence for real-time data collection and data-driven decision making.
Use Augmented Reality products to train workers, provide support for tasks, utilize remote meeting tools like Skype, WhatsApp, Google Meet, Zoho, and Zoom for conducting virtual face-to-face meetings by using advanced analytics and autonomous planning to identify critical supplies and predict future demands, respectively.
6.Oil & Gas Industry
• The present health crisis has created a demand-side shock to the industry. To ensure business continuity, first, they have to look after the safety of its workforce and build a resilience plan for the near-term.
Setup a 24 x 7 virtual communication center to stress test the business, deploy collaboration tools to create a virtual environment for employees.
• Launch an advanced analytics-driven program to know more about the industry and market dynamics. Reevaluate all decisions, assess every asset, and evaluate new investments to balance your portfolio.
• Outsource IT and back-office operations and use the pay as you use model as of now.
• Team up with competitors for sharing equipment and other infrastructure to reduce expenses.
• Identify collaborative opportunities that can bring more value and business to your oil and gas company. (Image Credit: Accenture).
7.Freight and Logistics Provider
• As the coronavirus cases are rising and mortality rates are increasing day by day, ‘business as usual’ does not exist now for freight and logistics businesses.
People ordering food, groceries, products, and medical supplies online have now higher expectations from logistics service providers. To meet the changing and surging demands from eCommerce users, accelerate your business plans.
• Automate business processes and facilities, use AI technology to enhance flexibility, and adopt agile models to achieve speed and stability.
• Build a virtual customer team and virtual branches to monitor and support customers and their demands.
• Adopt a strategic cost assessment program, build partnerships with competitors, and re-align network models to strengthen your business operations.
• Do follow hygiene and safety practices while delivering products to avoid consumer complaints.
8.Fintech and Banks
• The COVID-19 outbreak worldwide isn’t just a humanitarian crisis but an economic shock as well. Fintech and banking service providers have to look for these four areas: credit management, revenue compression, cost control and management, and customer service.
• As digital services are becoming mainstream, finch companies can invest in contactless payment systems.
• Many small businesses will require loans to start their business again in post-COVID-19 times. Banks can get new types of customers to get their business going. Evaluate new banking services and see how they could help the community and your business.
• Prepare for losses and falling revenue. Use virtual environments to provide training to your staff. Use communications tools and advanced technologies to answer customer queries.
• Review project expenditures, build relationships with small and medium sized vendors and suppliers and invest in things that will be in demand after the outbreak is gone.
• Accelerate digital sales through online banking and mobile apps.
Learnings and Growings Through COVID-19 and Beyond It
– Early Warning System: An early warning about such a deadly virus could have proved beneficial for the world economy and humans. We need an early warning system for identifying future crises.
– Digital Access: Although developed countries have good connectivity and Internet connection, developing countries struggle with this. Digital access should be made a utility just like electricity.
This would enable hassle-free digital services for everyone. From tele health, remote work, to digital banking, Internet connection can make contactless approach possible in every field to avoid infection from these viruses.
– Medical Facilities: We need to spend more money on improving our medical facilities so that they can cater to future needs during such a crisis. From ventilators, personal protective equipment, to tele health apps, we need more of these things.
– Health Assurance: Instead of the Internet of Things, we need the Internet of You for the healthcare sector. Every person on this Earth should be able to get health services without any hurdle, and technology can help us. Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring digital medicine at the forefront.
– Trust and Ethics: When you build trust among your audience and follow ethics, anything is possible. Just like the national governments have stepped up to provide relief funds to its citizens, businesses need to come forward to help their customers in any way possible.
From community support, funds to healthcare workers to retaining employees amid business closures, every small gesture can build trust and strengthen your relationship with people around you.
– Health Awareness: People have understood truly that health is wealth. This pandemic has made them think about how, where, and what to eat. Their purchasing behavior has changed and so businesses will have to respond to these changes to retain and attract new customers.
– Contact-Free Economy: After this crisis, one thing is clear, people will demand a contact-free economy to avoid a future health crisis. Demand for digital commerce, tele-medicine and automated tools will increase by multiple folds.
– Business Scrutiny: Coronavirus is the biggest global challenge. National governments have to intervene to provide relief funds for businesses, people, and industries.
With people money coming into the businesses, more scrutiny is expected in terms of safety, hygiene, outcomes, and quality.
The future will not be the same as it used to be. We have to prepare ourselves for the next normal. COVID-19 has been a world-changing crisis for us.
As Winston Churchill said during World War II, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” we have to learn the lessons from this crisis and prepare our resilience plans to survive, thrive, and return to our next normal. No matter, which industry you are in, every organization will have to rethink its operational processes, sales approach and marketing tactics.
At Fuel4Media Technologies, we are here to help businesses looking to survive and grow in the post-COVID-19 era. From digital marketing services, E-commerce website and portal development, AI-based apps, mobile app development to blockchain solutions.
We can help you build your digital solution, no matter which industry you are in. We can help you turn these challenges into meaningful changes that will enable your business to achieve success in the post-COVID-19 era and beyond.
Please contact for more detail and business inquiry : info @ fuel4media.com www.Fuel4Media.com