Albert Einstein once famously said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” The ongoing pandemic is a reflection of how true this statement stands. Despite many instances of businesses struggling to survive the new normal, many sectors not only sailed through the tumultuous time but also flourished during it.
You might be surprised to know that the pandemic not only helped in speeding up digital transformation but also opened many new avenues for business. This was a time when everyone from brands to customers were open to trying new things – be it e-learning to shifting the entire business online.
Here are a few more positive outcomes of the pandemic that has completely changed business function and consumer interaction.
Online shopping was already a huge trend before the pandemic hit, with over 1.45 billion shoppers making online purchases in 2018. This number rose to about 2.05 billion in 2020 according to Oberlo statistics. Fashion business was among the main industries to benefit from shoppers buying online.
Before the pandemic, online shopping was a matter of choice but in 2020, this was the only safe way for people to make any purchases. From groceries to home decor, everything was available at the click of a button. Not only was this method convenient but it was also within the norms of social distancing.
Customers who were elderly or not tech-savvy had earlier been apprehensive about making an online purchase. They too experienced online shopping during the pandemic and most of them plan to continue with it.
One industry that was hugely impacted by the pandemic was education. While e-learning and changes in this sector were progressing slowly, 2020 surged them ahead at lightning speed.
Forced within the confines of their home, students and professionals turned towards online courses for upskilling. Schools had no choice but to replace traditional education with e-learning. This also led to the adoption of digital tools of learning (video-based content, live classrooms etc.) that were earlier limited to being an additional form for learning.
Many universities and institutes saw a huge surge in students opting for online study. This renewed interest has revolutionised the industry, allowing education to become accessible to all irrespective of distance or commitments.
Remote working tools
When remote working became the norm, businesses had to look for a new alternative to keep employees connected. As a result, corporations turned towards remote working apps and software to ensure the smooth functioning of work operations.
Zoom became a household name during this time, with 81% revenue growth during the pandemic. Similarly, Microsoft Teams reached a total of 44 million users. Meeting rooms were shifted to live sessions and many businesses even organised fun activities such as DIY crafts or dance lessons through zoom video communication sessions.
Moving forward, as many companies are adopting remote working and hiring remote candidates, these tech tools will become a standard part of work operations.
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It wasn't just work apps that gained enormous popularity during the pandemic, but entertainment apps too. During the lockdown, most of us looked for newer ways to keep ourselves entertained and turned towards social media tools like TikTok, Instagram or Youtube.
Netflix also saw a huge rise in popularity during this time along with immersive games. Virtual reality also became an easy way to pass the time. Gamers needed no excuse to indulge in their favourite video games such as the new Xbox series and PlayStation 5 consoles.
It’s therefore no surprise that revenue for the gaming industry alone reached $179.7 billion for the year.
Remote working was previously a rare occurrence for modern business, but the pandemic changed the situation almost overnight. Many companies started downsizing and opted for temporary alternatives to take up newer projects and employees around the world had no alternative but to work from home.
Also, this is a trend that will continue for months to come as companies become more open to structural changes, both within the economy and work premises.