The COVID-19 pandemic created quite an economic turmoil all over the world. Some industries grew exponentially, whereas, others witnessed a steep downfall. Considering the inconveniences that occurred during the locked-down phase, many entrepreneurs ideated and launched multiple money-making business opportunities. The Business Formation Statistics (BFS) report, by the U.S. Census Bureau, says that the overall number of new business applications rose at a rate of around 20.6% from 2020 to 2021.
However, the pandemic had a calamitous impact on the economy of the USA and majorly disrupted the small business. The fitness(gym), restaurant(fine dining) and tourism industries struggled hard to thrive, due to facing considerable losses. Some managed to survive, while the others washed away. Many small cafes or restaurants started full-fledged home deliveries to sustain themselves. To survive during such an economic crisis, many small restaurant owners, who do not have a high credit score or a good number of mortgageable assets, but need urgent cash, opted for same-day emergency loans like Merchant Cash Advances(MCAs) and other alternative financing options. These have lesser stringent requirements, compared to banks, and offer same-day loan approval. SBA loans are often considered one of the best small business loans for start-ups. Many COVID-affected businesses benefited from the PPP lending, administered by the Treasury Department and the SMA. This funding turned out to be a ‘savior’ for many businesses, especially restaurants.
Besides, the E-commerce industry, which has been growing steadily over the last decade, took an aggressive momentum since the pandemic hit the world. Soon, E-commerce started becoming a viable choice for most entrepreneurs. Many companies did complete restructurings during the peak of the pandemic. Remote cloud-based applications and services gained immense popularity. Most companies adopted a hybrid or virtual work culture. The real estate industry, though initially faced resistance, anticipates substantial growth in the coming years, considering the constantly-evolving futuristic construction technologies that not just connect people, processes and assets to improve communication, but also solve various supply chain issues. Transportation and warehousing or logistics start-ups did quite well in 2021, the year that followed the pandemic year. Research says, due to their noticeable success, funding for logistics/warehousing and transportation, especially trucking start-ups increased by around 58%, in 2021. Many got into the business of offering end-to-end logistic solutions (warehousing, fulfilment and last-mile deliveries), providing freight shipping solutions etc. On the other hand, the brick-and-mortar retailers lost walk-in customers and experienced hefty financial losses due to the movement restrictions, imposed during locked-down. The online merchants took advantage of the situation and seized the market.
List of business verticals that are anticipated to witness promising growth in the post-pandemic era:
Pick-up and delivery
The pandemic has taught business owners the importance of delivering products/services to their customers’ doorstep. Hence, delivery services have been witnessing a considerable upsurge in demand since the lock-down. Customers’ growing demand for convenience has led every business, be it service-providing or product-offering, to incorporate a robust delivery solution in its business model. Grocery shops and chemists that started delivering daily essentials and medicines(only to those who have authentic prescriptions), grew enormously during the pandemic. Food delivery apps gained exceptional popularity by delivering customers delicacies from their favourite restaurants in a blink of an eye.
The pandemic had compelled educational institutions over the world to shift to online learning programs. The crisis immensely contributed to the development and growth of the Ed-Tech industry.
Online Healthcare Consultation
Healthcare is extremely crucial, no matter what the social or economic situation is. When the COVID-19 pandemic started engulfing the entire world, people suffering from other diseases were also not able to step out of the house and visit a doctor. To offer conveniences to the masses, the concept of online healthcare consultation flourished, various new apps were launched and many existing healthcare apps got revamped. These allow the users to select from a huge list of associated doctors, book consultations and pay online. Many healthcare apps acquired loyal customers during COVID-19 and have successfully retained them in the post-pandemic era as well.
The concept of an E-commerce marketplace existed even before the pandemic. But due to people’s apprehension about the products, they are purchasing remotely without a quality check, the E-commerce marketplace was visited by a certain part of the society or age groups. But, the travel restrictions, imposed during the locked-down phase, compelled almost everyone to opt for online shopping and understand the conveniences it offers. By offering high-quality products from reputed merchants along with easy returning or exchanging facilities, E-commerce portals gained customers’ trust, eventually acquiring a good number of regular buyers. Research says online sales have increased by around 52% and the number of online shoppers by around 8.8% after the pandemic era began (As per Quantum Metric Report).
Fitness apps and digital workout programs started gaining immense popularity since the locked-down phase started. Primarily, the idea was to ensure the least physical contact and maximum safety. As major gym chains shut their doors to restrict the spread of the Coronavirus, people, sitting at home and getting absorbed by lethargy, started realizing the importance of physical fitness, more than ever before. This is when the fitness apps, offering regular fitness regimes, including diet charts and different workout plans, started gaining popularity. These apps provide consolidated fitness plans at prices much lower than gyms can offer.
While COVID-19 opened the door of opportunities for some industries, it exposed others to various threats. One of the noticeable changes it brought to the industry is the digitization of business operations. Today, both products and services are sold on digital platforms, company websites or e-commerce websites. The comfort and accessibility offered by the concept of online shopping have changed people’s lifestyles, preferences, priorities as well as habits. Considering the emerged consumer psyche, many businesses are restructuring themselves to fit within today’s ‘digital world’.