The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It was the year 2009 and the world was going through economic recession. Many people lost their jobs. People across the world were going through a period of uncertainty. Two friends, Brian Acton and Jan Koum applied for jobs on Facebook. They got rejected. Disappointed, they decided to stop looking for jobs and founded WhatsApp. The rest as they say is truly history.
Cut to 2020. The world is in the tight grip of a pandemic. Covid 19 is making the world go through the greatest economic crisis in decades. Many businesses are suffering because of the pandemic. There has been a feeling of discouragement and disorientation among various businesses. But there are a few businesses that have flourished because of the ‘new normal’. They have identified new opportunities and are ready to take their venture to the next level. These businesses can see a bright future ahead of them.
Here is our list of the businesses that have flourished in these surreal times and are looking at stellar growth. As an entrepreneur you can pick up some ideas here and apply into your business and grow in the post-Covid scenario-
- Online Educational Websites / EdTech Companies-
Professionals and young people, decided to pursue many online certificate courses. So, the enrollment rate at online educational websites saw a massive increase. Some of the EdTech Companies that have profited during the Lockdown are Coursera, Udemy, Byju’s and Newsela.
Covid-19 acted as a very powerful catalyst for EdTech, according to researchers. The Lockdowns, followed by the movement regulations, forced students and educators to adopt remote learning overnight. The last few months saw an unprecedented rise in the adoption of online learning. Google Classroom, which enables teachers to send study materials to students, recorded 100 million users in March 2020. The Indian Online Learning App Byju’s saw 20 million new users during the lockdown. The number of its registered students rose to 64 million. Therefore businesses dealing with educational technology and online educational websites are going to profit. More remote educational sites would come into being. There will be more advanced educational technology to serve the needs of the students and educators and this sector would flourish.
- Online Tutorials and Online Classes-
According to experts, the Covid 19 pandemic has caused the greatest disruption in education, ever recorded in history. The pandemic affected almost 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries across continents. According to a UN Report published in August – “Closures of schools and other learning spaces have impacted 94 per cent of the world’s student population, up to 99 per cent in low and lower-middle income countries.”
Students had to rely on remote learning tools for continuing their education after educational institutions closed down throughout the world. Online tutorials providing guidance on the nuances of a subject, came up to cater to the needs of the students. Examples include Vedantu, Vidyakul, Byjus and Doubtnut. Online tutoring platform Vedantu announced that it would help students with free access to its learning platform during Lockdown and subsequently saw a massive surge. As per reports, Vedantu crossed a watch time of 1 Billion minutes, earned 80% more revenue than the previous months and achieved the highest growth in the previous two years.
Online music classes, online cooking/bakery classes, and online photography classes became popular. Most of the people will remain indoors for many more days to come due to the pandemic, so online tutorials have a bright future.
- E-Commerce / Online Shopping –
The fear of the Virus made people move away from physical shopping experiences. They adapted to online shopping. Needless to say, online marketplaces would gain more customers in the coming days. Many people are thinking of starting online businesses for extra income.
Starting an online marketplace with tools like WC Marketplace is a very good option. It enables you to start an online business without burning a big hole in your pocket. WC Marketplace is a free multi vendor plugin used to build any marketplace of your choice on WooCommerce.
- Video Conferencing Apps and Tools –
When the normal flow of life halted due to Lockdown, educational institutions and offices had no other option but to communicate online. Employees started using video conferencing apps and tools for connecting with one another. Teachers started taking classes via video conferencing services like Zoom, Skype and Google Meet. When the government imposed restrictions on movements and introduced social distancing regulations, people started using video conferencing apps for connecting with their loved ones as well. So businesses and start-ups dealing with video conferencing apps and software benefited immensely. The meteoric rise in popularity of Zoom in recent time proves just that. Zoom recorded a massive growth owing to the demand of video conferencing tools. They made $328 million during February-April 2020 which is more than double the increase from $122 million that they made at the same time last year.
Covid 19 has ensured our dependence on communication technology. The future, in all probability, will witness the developments of more advanced video conferencing tools. Therefore, this industry will reach new heights.
Note : On a similar line businesses dealing with facial recognition technology and contactless technology would flourish.
- Online Consultancy Businesses –
While staying locked up during the pandemic, many people started online consulting. Setting up an online consultancy business, for example giving medical advice, online law consultancy etc, is a viable option. All that is required is a functioning computer, a good internet connection, a microphone, a webcam, an online platform to start and the special instruments required (Camera or music instruments).
Doctor on Demand Apps like Kry in Sweden, Babylon in Uk and Qare in France are the few examples of online consultancy services that are continuing to flourish.
- Streaming Services –
As people started spending more time locked up in their homes, there was a rise in the membership of the OTT (Over-the-top media services) platforms. People binge-watched and caught up on new content on OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, Hoichoi and MX Player. When the pandemic closed down movie halls, the streaming platforms were the only option left for producers and directors to release new movies. Moreover, the demand for content has made streaming services the most attractive option for directors. Producers get more freedom in telling a story on the digital platforms, so in the coming months, streaming services will flourish.
- Video Game / Gaming Industry –
This industry made profits as many people sought refuge in video games to escape the boredom. Sales of video games increased rapidly. As practices of social distancing reduced human interaction, the gaming industry offered people the excitement and interaction they craved for. Interestingly, video games and software developer Epic Games has sued Apple and Google, citing their monopolistic and anti-competitive policies and has removed its famous game Fortnite from their respective App Stores. But despite such controversies, there’s enough and more space for others to come in and grow. In fact the global video gaming market accelerated to $170 billion during the pandemic.
- Delivery App / Services App / Online Services –
In most countries, essential services were not barred from functioning. However, as customers preferred contactless purchases, there were many services that moved online. For instance, consumers relied on home delivery for their basic needs. Many people relied on cloud kitchens for their food. Food delivery Apps like GrubHub in New York and London, FoodPanda in Germany, UberEats in Brazil, Japan and Mexico, Swiggy and Zomato in India recorded growth.
There were many instances when people relied on online portals for ordering their cleaning and sanitary services. It is natural that businesses offering such services would start functioning mostly from online portals in the future.
Apps promising contactless deliveries would automatically see a surge in their business.
- Digital Health, Online Fitness and Wellness –
During a pandemic, people are naturally apprehensive of venturing out of their homes, for the fear of catching the virus. In this scenario, people relied on digital health tools for consulting doctors. Digital medicine and telemedicine services flourished. People started consulting doctors online. They started ordering for medicines online. Many companies started digital medicine services.
During the lockdown, gyms closed down. Many gyms moved their services online. People adopted virtual workouts. People started using fitness apps to remain fit. Online fitness celebrities saw a huge spike in the number of their followers. Companies like Fitbit saw the opportunity to lure people with 90 days free trial hoping to make them lifetime customers.
If we turn the pages of history we would see that pandemics have left permanent impacts on society and through Covid 19, history is repeating itself. The pandemic of 2020 has become the catalyst of change in our lives.
Taking a cue from the Education sector, Ecommerce, Delivery Businesses and Digital Health mentioned above, all kinds of businesses would begin to be driven by Digitalization and Virtualization.
In fact, after the pandemic, the world would be driven by what is commonly referred to as the five driving forces- Digitalization, Decentralization, Distribution, Virtualization and AI-zation. Experts have predicted that Digitalization would improve interconnectivity and enable the rest of the driving forces. Decentralization would remove single points of failure and increase local responsibility. Distribution would increase reliability, scalability and performance. It has been predicted that virtualization would remove dependency on physical constraints wherever possible and the growth of Artificial Intelligence would help businesses to anticipate and solve crises more effortlessly in the future.
The need of the hour is to develop resilience and come up with innovative ideas to fight the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Remember what Henry Ford said- “When everything seems to be against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
We will definitely beat the economic crisis caused by Covid 19 and after we emerge victorious, we must not forget to constantly contribute in making the world a better place to live in.
Are you in?