By Sana Shahid
Within the first quarter of 2020, the novel coronavirus had spread across the globe creating unprecedented fear and chaos. To control the spread of the virus, experts suggested that some necessary precautions – such as social distancing and frequent use of hand sanitizers and face masks – must be taken.
In order to implement the said practices, almost all governments imposed various forms of lockdowns everywhere in the world including Pakistan. Various impacts of these lockdowns were highly evident in all commercial and non-commercial industries.
From limiting business hours to shutting down forever, businesses of all scales were greatly affected by COVID-19; most of which have still not been able to recover from the losses incurred, the clients and resources lost and the precious time wasted.
Industry-Wise Effects of COVID-19
As the coronavirus continued to spread throughout the world, a significant change in the spending habits of consumers was observed. All those who used to crowd markets and malls shifted to online shopping. The definition of ‘luxury items’ evolved as, during the tough times of the COVID-19 crisis, edibles and other grocery items made it to the priority list of almost all buyers.
We also observed a drastic spike in the demand for cleaning products that resulted in a shortage of supply whereas previously labeled as ‘necessities’, the clothing industry hit an all-time low leaving no other option for the brands than to place most of their merchandise on sale to sustain themselves.
1. Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
As soon as the coronavirus emerged, a health emergency was imposed in all hospitals, everywhere. As the cases continued to rise, there was a higher than ever need for hospital beds and other pieces of equipment. However, more patients in hospitals meant more business!
There has been a massive increase in the demand for testing equipment, surgical masks, oxygen cylinders, hand sanitizers, and other related items which encouraged pharmaceuticals to increase their production, resulting in huge profits.
Considering the fact about the best and probably only way to save yourself from the coronavirus suggested by medical professionals is a vaccine; numerous small and large scale pharmaceutical companies have ever since been striving to work for the development of one. This race for the development of a successful COVID-19 vaccine created an enormous investment opportunity for investors around the world.
It won’t be wrong to say that the new coronavirus has not only benefited the big guns of the pharmaceutical industry but smaller setups also enjoyed the perks, being one of the very few essential businesses that couldn’t have been shut down during the pandemic at all.
2. Consumer Goods
As the world continued to face the global pandemic, a great sense of uncertainty prevailed among the masses. A huge majority of people started to panic buy and hoard non-perishable items such as packaged, canned, and even frozen foods.
This behavior of panic shopping wasn’t limited to edible items but also extended to cleaning products such as disinfectants, handwashes, hand sanitizers, and toilet rolls! Since then, the grocery stores have been taking whatever precautions they could to avoid being a cause of spreading the virus as consumers keep on flocking them during the COVID pandemic.
As the world was already progressing towards smart and futuristic business solutions, those who were keen about digitizing theirs were definitely one step ahead of their game. The importance of e-commerce during a time when stepping out of your house can potentially be a risk to your life simply cannot be denied!
Developments in the e-commerce industry created multiple opportunities for many retail brands to reap the benefits they provide for online shoppers. Not only is online shopping considered as a medically safe method for getting the things you need at the ease of your home, but it’s also highly efficient, convenient, and obviously time-saving.
4. Food Delivery Services
Due to the government’s strict policies against closing down public spaces especially restaurants which can be a source of spreading the coronavirus, eating out was no longer an option for anyone. This, in turn, allowed online food delivery services to take advantage of the situation.
As everyone was advised to practice social distancing and self-isolation, a lot of people relied on ordering food online. The said situation however was really beneficial for food businesses who were already providing such services.
5. Freight and Logistics
One of the industries that flourished more than ever was logistic service providers. Reason? Online shopping!
We know that without proper and efficient logistical services, the e-commerce industry would be a major flop. Well-organized courier services were the main reason why consumers stuck to online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such services not only have been helping the e-commerce industry to grow but also been doing really well themselves throughout the pandemic.
6. Internet Service Providers
It is true that it has been a while since the internet has pretty much been here but its dire need was actually felt during the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of the urban population in Pakistan has already been quite fond of ‘good internet’, it still wasn’t a concept known to many.
As people had no option but to stay home due to the lockdown, a huge spike in the demand for internet services was observed. From becoming the first time users of stable internet services in their homes to upgrading their internet connections to better packages, the pandemic created a huge opportunity for internet service providers especially in third world countries to grow their businesses.
Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Investment
Just like the rest of the industries, the real estate sector was also not going to save itself from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Initially, the real estate industry was expected to bear many negative consequences of the whole situation. However, to everyone’s surprise, it was quite not the case!
While the prices of properties in Pakistan went downhill, we observed a drastic increase in real estate investment in the past few months. It was a delight knowing that amidst the pandemic, the Pakistani nation still kept their hopes high for times to come.
Adapting to the situation, Graana.com introduced virtual tours of their properties enabling their clients and investors to have a tour of the real estate properties they were interested in, that too while staying home, safe and practicing self-isolation.
What Did COVID-19 Teach Us?
While the extensive effects of the new coronavirus cannot be denied, the learning outcomes of this global pandemic proved to be nothing less than a blessing in disguise. As builders and construction experts continued to build large-scale commercial projects, nobody had thought that there would be a time when we’ll have to actually stop people from visiting shopping malls, movie theaters, concerts, and what not!
The biggest lesson that every business learned from the whole phase was the long-known concept of ‘survival of the fittest’ and being always on the look for new innovative business ideas. In the fast-paced evolving era of the 21st century, a business is fit as long as they adapt to the situation at hand.
The solution they needed just proved to be a modern, digitized, and contact-free mode of operation.