As countries all over the world are practising extreme social distancing due to the global spread of COVID-19, consumers behaviours are changing. We find that many being urged to work from home, school attendance has been suspended for weeks and public gathering have essentially been prohibited. The notion of self-isolation has become the norm, drastically limiting the amount of face to face, or rather the ‘offline’ socialisation we were used too.
These behavioural and consumer shifts are creating swift changes in our economy such as how they work and how they shop. This practice of social distancing in creating a new reality – the stay-home economy, which are forcing consumers and businesses to change their behaviours, in the now and for the future.
While some of the hardest-hit industries such as hospitality, travel and entertainment industries are sure to come back to life, other changes might be long-lasting. Such as employees continuing to work from home and shoppers continuing the new convenience of having your groceries delivered.
However, Robert Glazer, founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, mentions that
“While many businesses will struggle with the shift to a stay-home economy, both companies and content publishers in these 10 verticals are poised to thrive. Companies in these industries and business leaders looking to reposition their offerings would be wise to take note.”
Let’s look at what Glazer has to say to these industries for the new Stay-Home Economy.
Remote Work and Education Support
With millions of employees and students likely to spend significant time working and learning from home. There will be a spike in demand for items to ease this transition such as laptops, flexible cell phone plans, headsets, monitors and superior wi-fi. Businesses that provide this enabling technology and equipment can capitalize on this with special pricing and promotions.
Direct to Consumer Brands
As people are encouraged to avoid crowded supermarkets and big-box retailers, you can expect direct-to-consumer providers of clothing, over-the-counter medicines, cleaning supplies, and even home decor to see an influx of new customers for home delivery.
It’s fair to assume many new customers will continue buying from these brands after the pandemic has passed. Buyers will be also looking for publishers and content websites that spotlight the latest deals and advise on the best products and these sites should expect a huge bump in traffic.
Physical and Mental Health Apps
Two needs will immediately appear for many who are isolated due to COVID-19—the need to exercise at home, and the need to relieve the added stress of dealing with the pandemic. Brands like ClassPass can draw customers to their database of online yoga, pilates and HIIT classes and many workout videos on YouTube.
Meditation apps like Headspace and Calm will provide opportunities for users to unwind after a long day of solitary work or managing a household full of kids off school. Health apps like Noom will also see increased interest from people who will want to keep track of their health goals while they’re stuck at home.
Games, Toys & Projects
Parents, especially working parents, are scrambling to keep children entertained while they are home from school and isolated alongside their parents. You can expect to see families invest in toys, to keep their children occupied, as well as board games, projects and puzzles that can be done as a family in the evening and on weekends. Hasbro, which currently has five of the 10 top-selling board games on Amazon, has major potential here.
Also, Entrepreneur John Boitnott pointed out that,
According to a SensorTower report, game downloads surpassed 13 billion across the App Store and Google Play for the first time during the first part of 2020. That's an increase of over two billion compared to the previous record quarter. The report also found that the most popular game downloads were those that connected people remotely and offered a social component, such as Words With Friends 2 and Scrabble Go. Also, popular sandbox games like Roblox and Minecraft grew in use.
- Showcasing the increased potential and opportunity in this field as well.
Influencer parenting bloggers are already putting together lists of their favourite items in these categories and sharing them broadly. Your business may want to consider partnering with them.
As consumers are increasingly avoidant of public spaces, the restaurant industry will likely be hit the hardest and we have seen this with the recent protests around South Africa with the hashtag: #jobssaveslives
Because people will be eating at home as often as possible, both direct to consumer meal prep companies such as UCOOK, Frozen for You, Daily Dish and local delivery apps such as Mr Delivery (Mr D Foods) and Uber Eats, in South Africa will have the chance to serve an increasing number of home diners. And as with direct to consumer vendors, these businesses may gain customers who try their services for the first time and stick with them well after the COVID-19 threat has dissipated.
Companies who deliver will also need to recruit thousands of new delivery people in the coming months to accommodate demand, so advertisers who can help promote these opportunities will do well, and college students who are home early should be good targets to earn some extra income.
Streaming giants such as Netflix and Disney+ were already dominating the entertainment landscape, and they’ll only see demand increase. For working parents, Disney+ will help carry the burden of keeping kids entertained so parents can work during business hours, and in-home movie nights will become a leading social activity for individuals, couples, small friend groups and families.
But those aren’t the only players in the media world. Apple Music should see increased interest from people who suddenly have much more time to listen to music. And, of course, anyone who doesn’t already have Amazon Prime will also probably be enticed by its free and fast shipping, as well as a wide collection of streamable music and movies.
Audiobooks and eBooks
With public social activities limited, kids and adults will need to find ways to pass the time. And while purchasing physical books may not be practical during the pandemic, consumers will find the instantaneous accessibility of eBooks and Audiobooks enticing when they are facing another weekend stuck in the house. This will be another area where Amazon will succeed with the easy access of Kindle, and audiobook vendors like Audible can thrive as well.
There’s also an opportunity for publishers who create book reviews and recommend book lists as people research what to read and listen to during their time at home.
Gaming and E-sports
Video games are a dominant market force as is, and they’re the perfect activity for both parents and kids who are isolated in their homes. Not only will game-sellers profit, but online gaming platforms such as Twitch and Fortnite will likely see a significant uptick in users who visit more often, and for longer periods. With these platforms drawing so many eyeballs, they’ll become key places for advertisers to invest in, especially to reach younger buyers.
Boitnott mentions that examples of this can be seen through the Travis Scott concert in Fortnite and the Lady Gaga concert in Roblox each attracted millions of people, indicating that people use gaming platforms to socialize, buy things and educate and entertain themselves in multiple ways
Esports will also see a surge in popularity as well. While in-arena esports events will be cancelled, these video game leagues are prepared to move entirely online. An industry that was already tracking toward US$1.5 billion in 2023 may grow even faster—and become highly valuable to advertisers.
Virtual and Video Tools
You can expect other remote software providers such as GoToMeeting, Asana, Microsoft Teams and Slack to experience similar upticks in demand as more employees work remotely and government and non-profits learn how to go digital and virtual. This will speed up a transition that was already underway, and many organizations will likely continue to rely on these tools after they return to the office.
Virtual Health Services
Perhaps the most-dire need during the COVID-19 outbreak is for virtual health services. Individuals will be more heedful of sitting in a medical waiting room or standing in line at the pharmacy. Companies that either provide prescription deliveries or allow virtual consultations with doctors, will likely draw more patients than ever before.
The Opportunity Awaits
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the stay-home economy that accompanies it, will change much of the world even after the threat has diminished. Many companies have an opportunity to provide vital goods and services during a stressful time—and build lasting consumer trust in the long-term.
Businesses in these industries can capitalize by creating a great initial experience for new customers. As people research products that can make isolated living easier, they will likely gravitate toward publishers and websites who have credibility showcasing products in these industries.
This is why it is best to explore these industries and their companies, as they will be growing and hiring this year - as well as for employees who are looking for a job or a career switch.
The stay-home economy will drastically change the business world. However, companies who are smart and use this time as an opportunity to innovate will look back on this as a turning point for their businesses.