5 COVID Business Trends To Keep An Eye On Post-Pandemic: Key Stats, Surveys, & More
Even though we are still mired in the Covid-19 pandemic, we know that eventually there will be light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully sooner than later. However, many experts predict that there will likely be permanent effects in the retail and restaurant industries. The new normal of our Covid world is starting to settle upon us and so are some of the new conveniences and trends born out of forced innovation in response to the global pandemic.
What trends will likely continue after the pandemic and business restrictions are fully lifted? Read on to find out!
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Working From Home
Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) reported in 2019 that 80% of workers would want to work from home at least part of the time, and it is very likely that some of those survey participants got their wish in 2020’s barrage of unexpected events.
Pre-pandemic, the GWA estimated that 5 million adults worked remotely — approximately 3.6% of the workforce. But based on current trends, it is estimated that by the end of 2021, 25-30% of the workforce will be remote workers.
When state shut-downs started in March, the pandemic forced an issue that many companies and businesses have grappled with in recent years: Could remote work succeed for my business? In a survey of CFOs, many plan to continue remote work post-pandemic, shifting as much as 20% of their workforce into remote work to save money.
Cost is a huge reason why businesses might choose to let their employees work from home for good. Kate Lister of the GWA says, “…a typical employer can save about $11,000/year for every person who works remotely half of the time.” These savings stem from fewer maintenance expenditures primarily and, oftentimes, in increased productivity from staff.
According to an April 2020 survey by CommerceHub, not only has the popularity of online ordering increased during the pandemic, but 69% of consumers are more willing to do their shopping online than before the pandemic and 75% say they are more likely to opt for curbside delivery. A global survey noted that 36% of consumers are shopping online at least once a week — which is up from 27% pre-Covid.
All of that points to continued growth for eCommerce which already saw a 146% year-over-year increase since April 2020. That means that stores that don’t have an online presence might want to adopt a plan to expand into eCommerce. Many businesses may not even realize how simple it is to start their own online store. Many POS companies even come with either their own eCommerce platform or integrate with third-party companies that can provide the service at an affordable rate. At the very least, stores with a storefront should know consumers are hoping curbside pick-up and expanded delivery options will stick around after the pandemic.
Cashless & Contactless Payments
A survey from the Electronic Transaction Association (ETA) said that contactless sales have increased by 27% since the shutdowns began. The ETA’s chief executive Jodie Kelley released a statement that said, “It’s clear that the ‘new normal’ for businesses of all sizes is defined in part by a shift in consumer preference for e-commerce and contactless payments, which can help limit consumer exposure and promote social distancing during the pandemic.”
While not all businesses are on board with shifting over to a cashless business, more businesses added contactless/cashless options during the pandemic, and the result is consumers might prefer this new normal.
One Step Closer to The Singularity: More Robots!
A quick search on Google will show you how many think-pieces have been written about the idea that “Robots Don’t Get Sick.” In this world of germs and sickness, the idea of a workforce that cannot, in fact, catch COVID seems dreamy (if not a bit dystopian, as well). The 2 million industrial robots joining the ranks are not all a response to COVID — many are a natural evolution as technology responds to consumer trends.
According to McKinsey and Company’s report on industrial robotics, 88% of businesses worldwide plan to implement increased robotic automations.
The current trend is for “cobots” — robots that work in collaboration with a human counterpart.
Investment In Local Small Businesses
Commitment to small businesses saw a surge of support during the tenuous first months of the Covid pandemic. For businesses wondering if that attraction to shopping local will continue, signs point to yes. A survey conducted by ZypMedia said that 68% of consumers will continue to shop local even after all pandemic restrictions are lifted. And, in fact, many individuals may need to continue or consciously up their support of their favorite local businesses to keep them afloat or back up and running again.
Aman Sareen, CEO of ZypMedia said, “Local businesses are the engine of our economy and it’s reassuring to see that Americans aren’t abandoning them during these uncertain times. How businesses market to their customers is more critical than ever as consumers believe in remaining loyal to their local businesses, while at the same time being conscious of their current economic and social distancing situations.”
How To Get Your Business Through COVID
Small business owners understand there is a lot of uncertainty about the future. Infection numbers keep climbing, future stimulus bills seem in limbo, and not every small business will be able to survive. But while there’s still a long road ahead, there have also been amazing and creative breakthroughs in innovations. Companies that are able to think on their feet and adapt to these fast-moving trends will always have a better chance of success.