05 Economic Trends fueled by COVID-19 pandemic

People are in the streets during COVID-19 pandemic wearing masks; a postman is in the front of the picture with small packages in his hands.

With the coronavirus pandemic people from all around the world had to change their habits drastically. Some of these new life and work practices came to stay, experts have already declared. We listed five economic trends that were fueled by COVID-19. And they are expected to remain important in a post-pandemic world.

1. Remote working

The new coronavirus pandemic forced many companies to adopt remote working all of a sudden. Even those which would have never been likely to change their work model, because they did not believe in working from home.

However, after several months of confinement the experiment apparently has changed the mind of business leaders. Gartner found in a recent survey that 48% of employees will probably continue working from home at least for some days after COVID-19. Before the pandemic this applied to only 30%.

According to a survey for the Brazilian market from ISE Business School, remote work was not a reality for 51% of the Brazilian companies until the beginning of the crisis. But after an initial period of adaptation, 80% of the managers pointed out that they now like the new way of working.

2. Virtual & Immersive Experiences

To fight the spread of the new virus, events had to be cancelled. Also movie theaters, bars, parks and other public locations had to suspend their activities. That is why many people have searched for alternative options for entertainment and distraction.

Especially the so called esports like virtual football or tennis tournaments registered an exponential growth in terms of revenue. “We have seen a dramatic increase in the audience of esports events”, said Todd Sitrin, senior vice president of the Competitive Gaming Division at Electronic Arts, according to an online article of the Brazilian magazine Exame.

Furthermore, immersive technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have been boosted by the global pandemic. As Maor Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of n*gram health, detects in an article on Forbes.com: “There has never been a greater need for technologies that can help us enhance limited physical environments.”

An interesting example is the experimental live concerts series that has taken place on the social VR platform Wave. It included a show by John Legend in June in which he appeared as an avatar in an immersive virtual world.

3. HealthTech & EdTech solutions boosted by the pandemic

Already before the crisis of global health, HealthTech startups were expanding worldwide in large scale. Obviously, COVID-19 accelerated the sector’s growth tremendously. Many of these companies focus on technologies that assist in the identification of contaminated people. Others help with the rapid analysis of data to facilitate decision-making by health agencies.

Unlike in China, Brazil did not allow telemedicine until March this year. But to attend the urgent needs, the Brazilian law was modified in an exceptional manner. To that effect, the renowned Hospital Albert Einstein in São Paulo noted an increase in numbers of teleconsultation from 80 to 600 per day.

Besides, we saw a rapid expansion of commercial EdTech during the large-scale closure of schools and universities. Education technology is already considered one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. This tendency was underlined in April with the largest venture capital investment in an EdTech company ever seen: The Chinese startup Yuanfudao received USD 1 billion for its Al-based online tutoring and homework platform.

4. Well-being and (mental) health

Due to the new virus, social distancing and quarantine, people have drawn more attention to their personal health and well-being. Following market experts, consumers want to care much more about their own health and well-being, looking for preventative options. They give more importance to a healthier nutrition like plant-based alternatives. They are also more likely to adopt health apps.

This economic trend will have impact on HR policies of many companies. To convince well-qualified workers in the future, employers have to provide a healthy and supportive workplace environment. That also includes modern leadership and a strong corporate culture based on clear values.  Furthermore, firms should analyze their benefits packages and include a corporate health and wellness program. Many people are going to prefer such offers more than fuel vouchers, for instance.

5. Conscious consumption & DIY trend due to COVID-19 pandemic

According to a recent study from the Brazilian Institute for Social, Political and Economic Research (Ibespe) in partnership with the Brazilian Federation of Banks (Febraban), consumers’ habits will change mainly regarding commerce and services. 46% of respondents said they would reduce their visits at bars and restaurants, and also shopping centers in post-pandemic times. 30% answered that they plan to buy more over the internet, and 37% responded that they will travel less.

More concerned about a conscious lifestyle, people were also more interested in doing things on their own during their time at home. The Google search index shows that terms like “homemade bread recipe”, “cutting hair at home” or “exercise at home” (in Portuguese) reached the highest results in the past five years. And market experts are sure, that consumers will want to remain on this path of new gained “powers”.

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