How COVID-19 is accelerating these 6 trends

25 June 2020 How COVID-19 is accelerating these 6 trends
It is often said that in time of crisis is where opportunity lies and the global COVID-19 pandemic has shown this to be true, especially for businesses involved in technology. With many countries enforcing their own measures of lockdown procedures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, people's lifestyles have been abruptly disrupted and technology has taken centre stage in more ways than one.

The need to stay at home has forced people to rely on technology as they embark on a new experience of working as well as studying from home. E-commerce and online conferences have taken off in a big way as people are forced to change their habits. Even e-learning that has been touted as the next revolution for the last twenty years but never gained much traction, has finally broken the barriers of adoption even from education agencies.

Businesses that have developed digital strategies are coping well and some are even thriving in spite of the challenges. Going digital is of course not the 'cure-all' as there are other factors such as service, delivery, customer satisfaction, etc that determine success.

The whole business industry is facing a paradigm shift in the way things get done and it's critical for owners to respond quickly and adapt before it's too late. The term digital transformation is most apt in the current situation as companies scramble to pivot their operational model and push software and solutions out the door at breakneck speed. This crisis has accelerated technology and trends in ways no one could have imagined.

Here are the trends that have raced ahead due to the global pandemic:

1. Working from home

While the concept of working from home has been bandied about the last couple of years, the pandemic has virtually forced everyone to work from home, and while it was inconvenient initially, many employers and employees are seeing the benefits.

Many companies are now mulling new strategies that enable their employees the freedom to work from home on certain days and only clock in the office when necessary. There will be a shift in how employers rate their employee's performance with goal-setting in place of traditional hours-per-week performance.

2. Video conferencing

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Zoom has become the new buzzword for 2020 for video conferencing. It looks like everyone is on a Zoom meeting these days and even Google, Facebook and Microsoft are scrambling to improve their video conferencing solutions to stem the growth and popularity of Zoom.

It was not all a bed of roses for Zoom though, as security breaches and 'zoombombing' by pranksters put them in the spotlight and many corporations have stopped using them but they are still growing in spite of it all. There will definitely be more video conferencing softwares in the near future as they fight for market share.

3. Online gaming

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Online gaming surged in usage as people needed an avenue to fight their boredom since they couldn't leave their homes and online gaming was their escape. Many major publishers revealed record numbers of players for their games and this number is set to grow. Gaming is also fast becoming mainstream and is no longer limited to just guys as girls are also enjoying online games just as much.

In fact, the gaming industry has eclipsed movie-making as the income churner for entertainment. With computing power and online speeds improving, online gaming is enjoying unprecedented growth and will continue to so in the coming years. Google and Facebook are also getting into the arena, so it will be interesting how this shapes up in the coming years.

4. Food delivery

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Food delivery services took off in a big way thanks to COVID-19 as many people who never bothered to use it suddenly found out how convenient and easy it is to order food via an app and have it delivered to their doorstep.

Single outlet restaurants and even hawker stalls signed on to these services so that they could continue to operate even with commissions. It's truly a time where businesses need to adapt to survive or risk losing it all. Food delivery apps will continue to see growth as people get used to the convenience as well as enjoying promotions that are specific to their platforms.

5. Online shopping

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As people were cooped up at home, they still needed to purchase daily necessities and other items. Retailers that had an online store saw increased revenue and some like Amazon and Tesco were busy recruiting workers to cope with the increased volume.

As people shop online, they also tend to make purchases based on 'wants' rather than 'need' if the offer can entice them, so it was a perfect opportunity for some online stores to make record sales compared to normal circumstances.

Businesses that are serious in expanding their market must seriously look into building their e-commerce solutions or risk losing out to their competitors. The growth of e-commerce sales is projected to increase over the next few years as retailers and shopping malls are on a decline.

6. Online learning

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And finally, online learning has seen a healthy uptake as people realised how convenient and effective it really is. There are many formats that work for different people and perhaps that's why it is so effective. Some people prefer to learn via a 'live' presenter where they can ask questions while some prefer to learn at their own pace through recorded videos and assignments. One advantage of online learning is users can also track and monitor their progress on a weekly basis and most learning is geared towards practical knowledge instead of textbooks.

Online learning will take off exponentially in the coming years as more people and companies adopt and it gains acceptance. Since there is no fixed format, this industry is expected to boom in ways we cannot imagine for now. Now is a great time to take advantage of this opportunity to generate growth in the coming years.

One thing for certain is, the pandemic has disrupted the world in more ways than one and it gives everyone a lot to think about. We should be aware that nothing can remain the same and those who can adapt faster will find their opportunity to excel while those who refuse to change, risk losing everything.

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