Top 5 industries that have adapted to COVID-19 seamlessly

Over the years, consumer demands have increased, and businesses have consistently risen to meet their expectations.

Supply and demand is the general nature of businesses. When there is a shift in consumer behavior, companies must also adjust to accommodate such changes.

What does adapting to COVID-19 look like?

This year, with the global pandemic, we saw consumer trends transform overnight.

Many companies made the shift to exclusively online services to minimize transmission and adhere to social distancing regulations. Alerting their audience through robust digital communication channels such as SMS, OTT messaging, and email, was crucial.

While some industries adapted to these massive changes with ease and enthusiasm, others struggled to smoothly transition.

The shift in business operations and culture

Businesses minimized operations, temporarily closed, and even shut down completely, causing record unemployment rates worldwide.

In Australia, the ABS reported 72% of businesses had less income as a result of COVID-19. While revenue remained the same for 22% of companies, 7% saw revenue increase.

Organizations that remained functional had to severely reassess the market and their existing business strategy to ensure future success.


Operations that have changed due to COVID-19 restrictions:

  • Strict OHS regulations
  • Social distancing measures
  • Remote work and education
  • Teamwork and communication methods

Any changes to operations should be communicated to staff and customers at the earliest opportunity. Allowing for the appropriate preparation and time for changes to be successfully implemented.

Integrating mobile messaging and digital communication has allowed businesses to update employees, customers, and other stakeholders with ease. Mobile communication, such as SMS and email-to-text, provide scalable solutions to enhance internal business systems.

Related: 'Communicating during times of crisis'

Lockdown and restrictions

COVID-19 has changed the everyday lives of many, including what we considered normal. Social distancing, travel restrictions, and varying degrees of lockdown led to significant shifts in the economy, politics, and social norms.

With such substantial limitations, many companies had to pivot their business strategy and work with online solutions. Businesses such as retail stores and restaurants had to close locations and seek temporary substitutes until restrictions eased.

Brands increased their online presence and enhanced their eCommerce offerings. Restaurants expanded their home delivery services. And, where possible, businesses implemented Work From Home (WFH) policies.

Related: 'Working remotely? Here's how to do it right'

Industries that seamlessly adapted to the global pandemic

Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the economy is in shambles, and industries that were thriving have seen a downturn. And yet, some sectors that were seeing slow growth and development have now had to accelerate to keep up with demand.

Technology

The epitome of a rising tide that lifts all boats; technology has single-handedly provided industries the opportunity and the tools to transition to online during the global pandemic.

With seamless integration and easy-to-use processes, businesses have remained functional due to accessible and cost-effective tech solutions. And organizations aren't the only ones benefitting...

Online, people find ways to connect socially, talking face-to-face via video conferencing, sharing content, and engaging in online activities together.

Technology has easily adapted to COVID-19 due to:

  • Accessibility and remote processes via the internet
  • The low impact of COVID-19 restrictions on tech operations
  • Cost-effective solutions
  • Diverse platforms and communication tools
  • Integrated systems for healthcare, education, and business operations
  • Video conferencing capabilities
  • Online entertainment and streaming options
  • Social media and community forums
  • AI and other new technology

Kaveh Safavi, the Senior Managing Director at Global Health for Accenture, was quoted in the AHA Market Insights Report.

He said, "COVID is an amplifier. It accelerates what was historically done as a matter of convenience, which is now a matter of necessity—to free up resources and give clinicians the time to work on the things that only clinicians can do. AI and other information technology will have a transformative role in scaling our human resources and making the care experience more personal."

Related: 'The Undeniable Evolution of AI and Machine Learning'

Healthcare

Medical practitioners and healthcare staff have been on the frontlines during the global pandemic—literally.

Hospitals were always going to be hardest hit by COVID-19, even with strict hygiene regulations and viral outbreak procedures. With the means to take on the challenge, medical staff had access to in-demand supplies such as masks and gloves. Even when there was a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment).

Without a robust healthcare system already in place, COVID-19 could easily be the downfall of a nation. Government subsidies and bulk billing options have allowed 100,000s of people to access testing for the novel coronavirus. As well as continue regular treatments necessary to their health.

Healthcare has easily adapted to COVID-19 due to:

  • Extensive procedures for viral outbreaks
  • Rapid response to the virus
  • Effective dissemination of important COVID-19 information
  • Strict hygiene standards
  • Robust tech platforms integrated into legacy systems
  • Capability to provide online telehealth and teletherapy services
  • Strong workforce of frontline employees with vast knowledge
  • Monitoring and reporting of patients who have tested positive
  • Access to new technology and AI

Related: 'How are telehealth and telemedicine services helping to tackle COVID-19?'

Banking and Financial Services

Compassion and understanding have been the number one reason that banking and financial services were able to adapt to the current economic situation.

By supporting government initiatives, banks could provide extensions and freezes to assist those with outstanding credit. Refinancing, lower interest rates, and payment plan adjustments resulted from the understanding that while this is an uncertain time for many, this time will pass.

According to Accenture's COVID-19 insights on the banking industry, "[Banks will] learn many valuable lessons about their customers, their own capabilities, and the market as a whole. These will serve them well in the years ahead."

Banking and financial services have easily adapted to COVID-19 due to:

  • Cashless and hands-free payment options
  • Strong understanding of the economic situation
  • Ability to provide extensions, freezes, adjustments, and refinancing options
  • Government assistance and regulation changes
  • Integration of online banking and financial operations
  • Reviewing project expenditures
  • Enabling more flexibility with vendors and suppliers

eCommerce

With brick-and-mortar stores closed down and brands shifting to online stores, eCommerce has never been so popular. Accelerating the transition of in-store retail to digital, eCommerce platforms allow businesses to quickly set up an online store.

Consumer behavior has changed dramatically since the novel coronavirus pandemic was announced. A sharp decrease in sales for non-essential items came immediately after non-essential businesses went into lockdown. While that seems like an obvious outcome, most brands with an online presence have continued to meet its customers' demands.

Although the supply chain has had a few interruptions and delays, manufacturing and logistics have adapted to cope with the influx of online purchases while adhering to COVID-19 regulations. Many consumers are also now buying from small businesses and local producers.

eCommerce has easily adapted to COVID-19 due to:

  • Strong online presence
  • Many brands and online stores to choose from
  • Increased flexibility for returns and exchanges
  • Scalable platforms that are easy-to-use
  • Online payment options
  • Order status updates and delivery tracking
  • Supply chain and logistics compliant with restrictions
  • Increase in online orders due to stores closing and social distancing

Food and beverage

Every human needs sustenance. Multiple times a day, we need to nourish ourselves with food and drink, and it is something we cannot live without. It’s essential.

Grocery stores and supermarkets remained open, along with the post office, and other essential businesses. While bars and restaurants closed or implemented strict social distancing guidelines.

Yet, eating and drinking are still necessary, so there is no surprise that many bars and restaurants expanded takeaway and delivery options while remaining compliant with COVID-19 regulations. With grocery delivery services swiftly following suit.

Along with the shift in consumer behavior towards local small businesses, there has also been a shift toward mindful consumption. Associate Director of Corporate Engagement at Good Food Institute (GFI), Caroline Bushnell said, "Dollar sales of plant-based meat grew 454% in the week ending March 21, while fresh meat sales grew 100%. For the week ending March 28, plant-based meat grew 255%, while fresh meat sales grew 53%".

Food and beverage have easily adapted to COVID-19 due to:

  • Essential businesses such as supermarkets and convenience stores
  • Prompt and accessible delivery options for restaurants
  • Grocery delivery services
  • Robust applications to facilitate orders and track progress
  • In-store social distancing compliance like perspex dividers and regular cleaning
  • Limits on non-perishable goods and food items
  • Local produce and mindful consumption practices

The industries that have struggled the most

Unfortunately, some industries suffered severely due to the global pandemic. Most non-essential industries that involved international travel and live entertainment took a big hit when lockdowns were enforced.

  • Airlines, trains, and cruise ships
  • Oil and gas
  • Tourism
  • Traditional retail
  • Investment banking (financial trade has declined)
  • Live performances (i.e., professional sport and music concerts)

Related: 'Australia begins easing restrictions and reopening businesses'