The year 2020 began just like any other year with the global economy on track to record growth. Then the COVID-19 virus began to spread fast from Wuhan where it is believed the disease was already spreading at the end of 2019. By mid-March hospitals in several countries were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. As news spread about this, the world has been thrown into a panic as governments across the globe rushed to close their borders and issue lockdown orders in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been more than a healthcare crisis. While millions of people have been infected and hundreds of thousands of others lost their lives to the disease, it is still too early to quantify the economic damage caused by the crises. Many industries such as travel, entertainment and hotels were completely shut down by the pandemic and millions of people lost their jobs.
However, not every industry was brought to its knees by the pandemic. In fact, quite a number of industries have thrived due to the conditions created by the pandemic. Here is a look at the industries that thrived the most during the pandemic:
Remote Working Tools
With many non-essential businesses and government offices closed to stop the spread of COVID-19 many of these institutions turned to remote working. Doing this required a set of specialized tools to enable people to communicate even when they could not meet in person.
This created an increased demand for remote working tools. This creates huge growth in the remote working tools industry. For example, Zoom's grew by 355% revenue in the second quarter of 2020 at the height of the lockdowns and by 317% in the third quarter of the year and its growth is expected to remain high as the effects of the pandemic are expected to linger around.
In China, the two largest remote working tools (WeChat Work and DingTalk) crashed during the first week of the lockdowns in the country due to a surge in the number of users. Other companies in this industry such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Apple's FaceTime have also recorded unprecedented growth during the period.
What made this industry grow at such a faster pace was the fact that everyone was looking for a way to keep their activities on track even while the lockdowns were still in place. Schools went online, consultant firms, court hearings and even medical consultations went online and all relied on video conferencing tools and other remote working tools.
While the lockdowns were in place people still needed to get essentials such as food, sanitation products and a host of other items while holed in their homes. This was made possible by e-commerce businesses which remained in operation making sure that everyone got what they needed during the lockdowns.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce data consumers in the country spend $347.26 billion in online stores during the first half of 2020. This represents about a 30% growth in online expenditure in the country. Of this amount, $200 Billion was spent in the second quarter during the peak of COVID-19 restrictions. As a reflection of this growth in e-commerce spending, Amazon's share grew by a whopping 63% during the pandemic. Many large retailers with online presence also recorded positive results and saw their share price move upwards.
Logistics (Delivery Services)
This industry is closely linked to E-commerce. As the number of people buying online grew there was a need to deliver those items to the customers. This is where delivery services saw a growth in demand. While large e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Alibaba have their delivery networks. Many small businesses had to rely on third-party delivery which helped create growth in the industry.
Food delivery services such as Uber food also recorded growth in demand. But also small restaurants working with independent logistic firms began offering food delivery services which further pushed up growth numbers
With a highly contagious disease quickly spreading on a global scale, it is obvious there will a rise for demand in the needed medical supplies. COVID-19 created a demand for a wide range of medical supplies including PPEVs, sanitary products, testing kits, oxygen and ventilators. All these were to be manufacture and shipped to the areas where they are needed the most while the world was still on lockdown. Many manufacturing companies not traditionally in the medical supplies business such as Tesla had to step in to help meet the demand.
Online Entertainment Services
With all entertainment places closed and even sports put on hold, people had to find other ways to entertain themselves. This created a huge demand for online entertainment services. TV streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus and Hulu recorded growth. Online gaming sites also recorded huge growth during the pandemic. Music streaming services and video sharing sites also saw an uptick in users during the pandemic.