No one can forget the year 2020 when a microscopic entity pushed the entire world into lockdown. Businesses were shut down, economies were shaken, and whatnot. There was no business in the world that didn’t get affected due to COVID. However, there was a silver lining to this too. How? Well, as per surveys, the speed at which businesses adopted digital technologies was faster than ever. Almost every industry sector adopted digitization trends to sustain its market by fulfilling customer needs. As everyone was locked inside their homes, the major aim for businesses was to offer contactless services. This led to a rise in the adoption of AR, IoT, and many other technologies.
This change in the entire business landscape is not temporary; it is here to stay for long. Let’s see how these digitization trends are going to transform businesses in the future!
1. Food Industry
Food is the basic need of everyone. With restaurants and grocery stores closed, it was difficult for people to get what they needed in the pandemic. However, technology helped people order food and groceries online.
As of April 2020, the demand for groceries and food online was at an all-time high in Europe. This led to brands like Amazon Fresh, Farmdrop, and Riverford wait-listing new customers. As the demand for groceries kept surging, these brands were not enough to serve the customers. Thus, other food businesses tried and succeeded in filling the gap. Over 500 food providers were able to deliver around 3.5 million food boxes to the customers.
There are countless other startups and apps that supported the people in the lockdown, such as First Choice Produce (London-based), Bigbasket, and GoFrugal.
As of now, the trend of online grocery delivery is still at its peak. The Indian online grocery market is speculated to grow at a CAGR of 37.1% from 2021-28. Other than that, the concept of the virtual kitchen also saw tremendous growth and is still in demand.
2. Fitness Industry
Just because everyone was ordered to follow social distancing, the fitness industry market witnessed a massive fall. In the US itself, the gym and health club industry lost around $13.9 billion from March to August 2020. As gyms, spas, and other fitness centers were closed, the workout regime of many people worldwide was hampered. However, it was not for long.
The virtual workout was already a part of some people’s daily routine before the pandemic. It only got adopted by more people during the lockdown. Stats suggest that there was an increase of 56% in the access of pre-recorded workout videos by the people as compared to 2019. Other than that, the viewing of live stream workout classes was also boosted by 78%. The use of such fitness apps grew exponentially in the mid-2020.
And this digitization trends in the fitness industry has not stopped yet. There are countless apps on the web that you can download right now for fitness exercises at home.
3. E-Commerce Sector
While other industries might not have gained that much in the pandemic, eCommerce is the sector that has benefited the most from it. As per stats, COVID-19 led the global eCommerce market to jump to $26.7 trillion, which is massive.
Since day 1 of lockdown, eCommerce giants like Amazon, Walmart, etc., are doing their best to get all the essentials to the users. This is the reason online retail sales increased by 32.4% in 2020 and 39% in 2021.
As users are still not comfortable while going out, the digitization trends of online shopping is here to stay for long.
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4. Education Sector
There was a massive increase in access to online education platforms in almost every country. As there was no school and college, students were forced to stay at home or hostels to get their education. Stats suggest that closures of schools affected around 1.2 billion children in 2020.
BYJU’S, a Bangalore-based company founded in 2011, announced free live classes on its Think and Learn app in 2020. It saw an increase of 200% of new students using their product after this announcement, which has been beneficial to them and other online learning platforms offering similar services such as Coursera and Udacity.
As of now, there is a massive rise in the launch of online education platforms. These platforms have been helpful in providing education to millions of people all around the world. The market of online education is expected to reach up to $350 billion by 2025, and these numbers are the reason this digitization trends will stay.
5. Travel Industry
The travel industry took a big hit as tourist places were shut down in the countries where COVID-19 was active. And there was no way people could go out of their house during the lockdown, which led to an almost 50% fall in domestic and international trips sales. But even then, this sector grew. How?
This was possible due to the adoption of virtual travel tools like Virtual Tours, Online Guides, and VR Viewing Platforms. These tools helped people save more and spend on things they actually wanted. Though VR cannot give the users the actual feel to be at a place, it has surely raised the hope for people worldwide as an alternate method.
The growth in this industry is still expected as many people are not willing to go outside during social distancing unless it is necessary.
The lockdown led to the adoption of several digitization trends. It was not only beneficial for individual fitness but also gave rise to many other sectors like eCommerce, education, and food.
It is hard to say if these trends will be around forever or if they will vanish eventually. But some countries have never been affected by this pandemic (at least partially) where digitally-enabled lifestyles are already a part of their daily routine. The adoption rate in these nations would give us an idea of how far we have come from the dark days of COVID-19!