Six Industries That Are Thriving During COVID-19 Thanks to Technology

COVID-19 preventive measures—curfews, lockdown, quarantine, driving restrictions, and business-closure policies—have “unleashed a wave of innovation” as businesses have pushed to accelerate a digital transformation.

We’ll be looking at six industries that were either prepared for or have adapted to the health crisis thanks to their digital approach.

1. Digital Commerce

Raydiant’s report State of Consumer Behavior 2021 highlights just how cautious consumers became during 2020 and also how cautious they remain in 2021. 40.3% of consumers reported less frequent visits to physical stores and more frequent digital purchases because of COVID-19, while 27.9% of respondents confirmed that the vaccine wouldn’t increase their visits to offline stores.

Physical businesses have turned to digital commerce, delivery, and curbside pickup to keep up with shifting consumer tendencies.

Amazon, opportunely primed for such a situation, saw a 38% increase in annual revenue in 2020, a record performance of $100 billion increase in a year, increasing net profit by 84% compared to 2019.

2. Financial Services’ Contactless Payments

To avoid handling cash, digital payments—virtual cash transfers, e-wallets, and mobile payments—are on the rise.

Tech Wire Asia reports that Asian consumers are showing less resistance to using their mobile devices to perform credit and debit transactions thanks to smartphone ‘wallets’ which allow consumers to link their bank accounts or credit cards to their phones and swipe their devices over a contactless reader to make payments.

According to Marketwatch, 13 million Latin American Visa card owners made their first online transaction in just the first quarter of 2020, while Mastercard contactless transactions have increased by over 40% globally.

3. E-Learning

As reported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), almost 70% of the world’s student population has been affected by educational institution closures.

Online courses, video conferencing, virtual tutoring, eBooks, learning platforms, and applications are experiencing significant growth. Experts are wondering how these trends will change the educational outlook after the pandemic.

“Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global edtech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025.”


4. Telemedicine

On March 17th, 2020 the White House announced its backing for virtual medical care for the elderly, those with long-term needs, and people with disabilities.

“Millions of households have now tried telemedicine, and many doctors and clinics are using it for the first time to deliver care to patients and their families.

When the pandemic passes, we should welcome this growth and continue to increase access,” said Kathleen Jordan, Chief Medical Officer at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, in her article published in the Washington Post.

The State of Telemedicine

5. Entertainment

Following Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+’s success, the subscription-based media streaming market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 23.2% from 2020-2025, offering consumers increasingly personalized entertainment experiences thanks to AI.

6. Wellness

Mindfulness applications like Calm and Headspace’s downloads have soared since the onset of stay-at-home orders in early 2020. According to The New York Times, the buzz around Calm in 2020 procured $75 million in investment and sent the company’s valuation over $2 billion.

Health coaches, personal trainers, and nutritionists have also taken their one-on-one services online while gyms, yoga studios, and wellness centers have invested in online scheduling platforms to continue offering group sessions, virtually.

According to the consulting firm Strategy Analytics, smartwatch sales increased 22% in the first quarter of 2020.

Key Takeaways

  • Physical businesses have turned to digital commerce, delivery, and curbside pickup to keep up with shifting consumer tendencies
  • Consumers are less resistant to use their mobile devices to make payments
  • Telemedicine, E-learning platforms, media streaming services, and wellness applications that were doing well before 2020 have been propelled further forward during the global pandemic

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1-800-Flowers, a floral delivery service, saw an 81% increase in their conversion rates after partnering with Encora to redesign an outdated platform, improve their site performance, and enhance feature functionality for more customer engagement.

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