There are always winners and losers.
With redundancies and bankruptcies announced by companies that are household names every day, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all doom and gloom out there.
But as sure as there are businesses which have been hit hard by the pandemic, others have found a niche, quickly adapted their business models, taken advantage of the opportunities, met customer demand, and thrived.
Some businesses and sectors are busier than ever right now, and I’m excited and fascinated by their success. Here are a few of the success stories.
Some of the Winners
Board Games & Jigsaw Puzzle manufacturers
Maybe unforeseen, but as families spent more time together, they entertained themselves with games and puzzles which resulted in sales of the likes of Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble rising by 240% in the first week of lockdown.
As people around the world were forced to work and socialise remotely, their need for technology to help them do so increased exponentially. My mother is in her seventies, and even she has now downloaded one of these apps onto her phone!
And she’s not the only one: apparently Zoom has been downloaded over 2 million times and its founder’s net worth has risen by $4bn since March. Microsoft Teams also saw usage grow to 44 million daily active users in the first week of March, so up by 12 million in just a week.
Food Subscription Boxes
Demand grew for fresh, healthy ingredients and customers were attracted by organic items suited to a range of diets and tastes. They have seen sales soar by as much as 300% since the outbreak.
One of the first places society was seriously impacted was with availability of food and the ease with which we could buy it.
Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s couldn’t get rid of their stock fast enough! They adapted by hiring as many as 40,000 staff and implementing social distancing measures as they saw sales increase by 30%.
Items ranging from canned foods and alcohol to flour and yeast flew off the shelves.
Home Improvement Stores
As we stayed at home, we suddenly noticed all those jobs that needed doing! After an initial drop in sales, people flocked back as soon as shops like B&Q started to reopen in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Loo Roll manufacturers
Who would have foreseen this basic household item being stockpiled?
No one, and companies like Who Gives A Crap saw their sales multiply by as much as a factor of 12 in one day.
Payment & Money Transfer Apps
The use of apps such as TransferWise, Paypal, Cash App, Venmo & Xoom have risen by 11% since the beginning of March. And it makes sense: as well as doing all our shopping online, it quickly became apparent that cash is neither suitable nor hygienic at the current time.
Exercise became a release, an outlet, and a way of keeping children occupied, and the industry adapted to the new normal accordingly by moving its business model online.
Joe Wicks quickly grabbed the nation’s attention. As did gyms, online yoga studios, fitness instructors and others in the sector.
Some of the Losers
Cinemas & Theatres
As cinemas and theatres became no-go areas, many streamed shows and performances to stay in touch with their audiences. However, in terms of revenue it’s not the same as people attending in person.
Manufacturing activities ground to a halt, not just because of the restrictions but also because of supply chains that were severely disrupted.
Hospitality ground to a halt. However many quickly became delivery-only, which has hopefully helped.
High streets were already in dire straits, and the pandemic has only compounded issues.
Many moved operations online, but the lockdown has still had a devastating effect on the likes of Cath Kidston, Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia.
Travel & Tourism
Airlines, hotels, agents, tour operators – anyone connected to travel and tourism has seen their revenue dry up. Big hitters like Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are feeling the pain.
As restrictions start to ease this month, the hope is that this kicks off the recovery process.