After months of confinement due to the coronavirus, countries are slowly starting to open up to get the economies running again. After starting in China, it didn’t take long for the virus to spread to other countries and its epicenter shifted towards the West at an unprecedented pace. Europe, America and Africa have all suffered and the entire world is facing a never-before-seen situation. However, governments have taken strict social distancing measures to fight COVID-19 and circumstances can get better. For instance, European countries like Italy and Spain that had been deeply affected by the virus have already ‘flattened the curve’ and cases are declining every day.
Nonetheless, according to Israel Figa, the fact that the pandemic will have long-term consequences is rather apparent. Every single industry will be affected and this is a no-brainer, but there are some industries that are facing a harder time than others, such as hospitality and travel, along with traditional retailers. Israel Figa explains exactly how different industries are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and how businesses will adapt once the virus is under control:
As per Israel Figa, in the aftermath of the pandemic, supply chains are more likely to become more localized. Why is this so? The pandemic has made it obvious that if there is a problem in China, then the world’s economy can suffer greatly. Therefore, there will be a shift towards local production in order to ensure that when times are tough, supply chains will be able to function somewhat independently rather than being completely shut down. In addition, just in time and just in sequence will no longer be widely deployed.
This is due to the fact that if supply chains face some disruptions, it can bring production to a halt because some parts would be missing. Hence, this would mean having greater local stockpiles for extended production in times of crises. Road and rail are also likely to become more integral since air freight and ocean are more vulnerable to international disruptions. Plus, as supply chains will be localized, road and rail will be the most obvious options. Lastly, automation will also pick up because pandemics don’t affect robots.
It is a fact that in a post-coronavirus world, the delivery of healthcare will change. Israel Figa says that there are two aspects to be focused on; what will occur inside the hospitals and what will happen outside. Even though hospitals have seen a huge increase in the number of patients, their profitability has declined due to the overflow and increased risk of infectious diseases. Consequently, Dr Israel Figa believes that investment in infectious diseases will increase. It was already a major issue for hospitals and COVID-19 has managed to exacerbate it. Self-cleaning textiles, software that shows pathogens via video and other tech will be the focus.
Plus, hospitals will also focus on utilizing capacity planning i.e. taking their existing resources and using them faster and more efficiently. Automated ordering, partnerships with companies that develop products rapidly and formal procedures for overflow planning are expected. As far as outside the hospital is concerned, Dr. Figa believes at-home diagnostics will become more common. There will also be introduction of tools for managing chronic conditions.
Dr Israel Figa believes that insurers will suffer from major short-term losses due to COVID-19. There will be a significant increase in claims for life insurance and higher demand for from people for policies that can help cover pandemic-related losses. Car and real estate insurance will also be affected because people will be investing less in these assets due to financial problems caused by the pandemic. As work-from-home models become popular, people will also need insurance for different risks like cyber liability and different kinds of worker compensation.
Due to the spread of the coronavirus, entire cities had to be shut down and this had a major impact on the retail industry. There was a huge increase in the sale of essential goods whereas non-essential goods experienced a fall in demand as people lost jobs and had limited financial resources. Moreover, Israel Figa highlighted that the importance of online selling has become apparent due to this pandemic. Even though online shopping is not a new concept, a lot of people experienced it now for the first time and are now coming to see the convenience it offers. Retailers should be ready for this change post-pandemic and become customer-friendly and seamless.
Furthermore, retailers need to develop newer business models and leverage data in their favor. Some of the things they can do include hyper personalization, dynamic pricing and demand forecasting. The role of brick and mortal stores will also change, as this would become a platform for inspiring instead of just selling. Retailers now need to be prepared for the new digital era.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of companies that have been slow at adapting the future tech for work have been forced to rethink their people and practices. Lots of employers have already added new perks, such as mental and physical health solutions, along with employee benefits programs. Dr Israel Figa predicts that diversity is more likely to increase in the workplace because now businesses can be more inclusive towards those who have different social and physical capabilities.
As most of the workforce had to work from home due to the pandemic, businesses are more likely to explore a more dispersed structure that will ensure business continuity in the long run. Since a lot of organizations have also experienced a decline in revenue, there will be some cost-cutting efforts in the upcoming months and it can boost automation efforts.
The industries that were hit the hardest because of the COVID-19 pandemic are the travel and hospitality industry. Businesses in these industries are now facing an uncertain future and an unprecedented situation. How will the travel industry cope once things go back to normal? According to Dr Israel Figa, business trips will definitely be affected. A lot of businesses have now adopted technologies that have helped them in working remotely rather efficiently, which means lesser trips are needed. A greater number of meetings will be held virtually and this will reduce the revenue for the travel industry.
Apart from that, domestic travel is more likely to recover faster than international travel. Dr Israel Figa states that this is also because of travel restrictions between different countries and also because people will consider domestic travel as a safer alternative. Most importantly, people are more likely to select non-typical destinations, along with outdoor activities and tours. There will also be an increase in ground transportation rather than air transportation until there is a good vaccine available. At some point, price-cutting strategies will be used by airlines, governments and hotels to promote travel, such as packages, discounts and loyalty programs.
A lot of people will now prioritize more conscious traveling, which means that people will not be that focused on the review of a destination or the length of their trip. Most people will prefer to take shorter yet frequent trips because they take less planning time and give people a better chance to enjoy. Lastly, Dr Israel Figa believes that the recovery of the travel and hospitality industry will also depend on every region’s responsiveness towards controlling the pandemic.
To ensure the shift in social and economic dynamics post-COVID-19, people will need access to capital. Financial service providers that will be able to address this gap in capital are expected to thrive, according to Dr. Israel Figa. It will be small businesses and consumers that will require the most assistance in this regard. Rather than going towards traditional banks, small businesses will shift their attention towards fintech for loans. This is due to the fact that large businesses have a higher level of banking relationships and are more prioritized by banks when it comes to loans.
Therefore, small businesses will move towards fintech solutions that primarily serve them and have the right infrastructure. Dr. Figa believes that algorithms used for determining creditworthiness will become more robust and fintech will be able to increase their customers by making more loan approvals. There were many people who didn’t have access to financial services pre-COVID-19 and they had to deal with a lot of problem in claiming stimulus checks and other benefits. These customers are now looking at digital banking solutions as those are dedicated to convenience, customer satisfaction and financial products that match their needs.
In order to keep up with customer expectations, Dr. Israel Figa believes that traditional banks will also accelerate their relationships with fintechs. They have already integrated with mobile wallets to help consumers in making contactless payments. With cleanliness now a major concern, consumers are looking for solutions that can help them managing and conduct their financial activities and banks will need to partner with fintech solutions for keeping up. Traditional banks will have to accept the fintech revolution if they want to continue standing and this means making adjustments to strategies.
Cyber breaches and attacks related to the coronavirus have become quite prevalent and the global cybersecurity community has come together to manage it. A group by the name of COVID-19 Cyber Threat Intelligence League was formed to help in combating hacks against frontline responders and medical facilities. Cybercriminals have launched COVID-19-themed phishing emails that claim to provide information about the virus but are only trying to lure people to check malicious links used for downloading Remote Administration Tools (RATs) on their devices.
To add to it, Dr Israel Figa highlighted that malicious actors know that a lot of people are spending more time at home due to social distancing and quarantine and need online entertainment. Subsequently, they have created fake streaming sites or those offering entertainment promotions, but they are only interested in stealing credentials. Similarly, with more and more people working remotely, businesses are also concerned about the security of their employees. There has been an increase in malware, phishing and business email compromise campaigns because personal computers don’t really have enterprise-grade security.
Due to these risks, Dr Israel Figa has predicted that small and large businesses are more likely to invest more heavily in malware detection, endpoint security, and anti-phishing solutions. Apart from that, more businesses are coming to accept that working in a distributed manner is not exactly the end of the world, which means further solutions will be required for remote workers.
Entertainment, Content and Advertising
The coronavirus pandemic confined entire populations to their homes and this ended up with an increased demand for entertainment and content that can be enjoyed from home. It didn’t come off as a surprise that over-the-top (OTT) and television viewership has increased. There has been a spike in viewership numbers for Netflix, Disney and HBO with live sports and late-night shows being suspended. Similarly, live streaming providers, along with social media platforms, have also seen their viewership increase.
In the post-COVID era, the use of these platforms is expected to continue, as per Dr. Figa and their widespread use would quickly become the new normal. There is an increased likelihood of wider adoption mostly because of social media platforms. As far as OTT platforms are concerned, most of the content is usually series-based, which means there is a greater chance of loyalty and continuation amongst the viewers.
When it comes to advertising, there has been a decline in spending both offline and online. Even though there has been more traffic online and on social media, advertising spending has gone down due to uncertainty and it not going to go back up that quickly. Plus, Dr. Figa says that advertisers have to tread carefully when it comes to messaging in order to ensure they don’t come off as insensitive to current events and adapt to the new way of life.
Industries need to be prepared for a lot of changes post-coronavirus, as there will be long-lasting impacts.