Is the Corona pandemic changing economic trends?

Going by the recent economic indicators, we are seeing that the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly accelerating some of the familiar economic trends that you have seen over the past decade. Let’s a take deep dive into these for better understanding.

Jul 07, 2020 09:07 IST India Infoline News Service

For the last three months or so, we have witnessed the biggest economic lockdown of our lifetimes. As a working executive or professional, it is highly probable that the pandemic has impacted your life in one significant way or another. However, this is not the first pandemic in human history. Going back 100 years, the human race faced the deadly Spanish Flu that infected over 500 million people – one-third of the world’s population at the time.

As you would probably know, the Spanish flu did alter economic trends – for the better or worse – in the 1920s. So, how will the Coronavirus pandemic change or introduce any new economic trend around the globe?

Going by the recent economic indicators, we are seeing that the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly accelerating some of the familiar economic trends that you have seen over the past decade. Which are these common economic trends? Let’s a take deep dive into them:

1. Digital marketing trends

Following the pandemic, more consumers like you are interacting with businesses through digital channels like social media pages or email marketing. Certainly, digital marketing trends are growing stronger with 100,000 webpages being added every single day.

Traditionally, B2B companies used to market their products through trade shows, conventions, and public exhibitions – which are no longer practical. As a result, we are witnessing larger B2B corporations trying to create a powerful online presence through email marketing, PPC campaigns, and digital advertising.

Image source: comScore

For businesses, the emphasis seems to be largely moving towards marketing automation tools. Going by Forrester Data research, the global spending on marketing automation is expected to reach $25 billion by the year 2023.

2. Job trends

What will be the job or employment trends in your post-COVID world? Automation in the workplace – either replacing human workers or making their jobs redundant – had been a frontrunner even before the pandemic hit. Sadly, the pandemic has amplified these trends to the next level.

Image source: McKinsey

Economic dislocation in jobs like food or hotel services and bank cashiers could be accelerated by automation tools. On the positive note, the current boom in Internet traffic and online productivity tools could shift the job market towards virtual or stay-at-home workers working for digitally-empowered companies – without having to step out of their homes.

But for obvious reasons, this remains a privilege that the manufacturing sector stands far from...

3. Manufacturing trends

Think of manufacturing – and you naturally think of China. However, China’s position as the world’s largest factory is largely on the decline. According to a BBC report, Chinese manufacturing has hit a record low in February 2020 – along with Chinese factories operating at 60-70% of its full capacity.

Image source: CNBC

With the anti-China economic lobby on the rise, we may not see China retaining its position as the “global manufacturing hub” in the post-COVID era. Some revealing trends from a recent survey of global industries found that 10 out of 12 industries including automobiles, medical equipment, and semiconductors are planning to shift a major portion of their supply chain to other countries like Japan, India, and even the U.S.

Though these trends need to be closely tied up with creative workplace solutions in the industry that promote social distancing and hygiene.

4. Globalization trends

Talking about China-centric global trade, can the corona pandemic impact the spread of globalization? The recent spate of viruses from China is a cause of worry for other trading countries and governments looking to protect their borders and local businesses from the effect of globalized trade.

Here’s an example of an anti-globalization trend. According to Morgan Stanley, 20% of Nike product lines will be moved from China to local automated factories by the year 2023.

Image source: Vox EU

While we are not predicting that the corona pandemic will kill globalization, cross-border global trade is not likely to go back to “business as usual” in the post-COVID phase.

5. eCommerce industry trends

Finally, how will the pandemic pan out for your eCommerce or online retail industry? Very well – as there were many indicators of traditional retail being replaced by eCommerce stores, even before the pandemic set in. COVID-19 has created an enormous surge in eCommerce sales volumes, compounding the industry’s growth.

Here’s something interesting - eCommerce or non-store sales in Britain alone soared from an overall retail share of 19.6% this February to over 30.7% in April.

Image source: U.S. Department of Commerce

As a result, we may never see traditional retailers – closed for business -reopening their doors to shoppers in the future world.

Conclusion

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed many new economic trends – driven by technology and the emergence of the online consumer. These include trends like digital marketing, eCommerce, and virtual working. The current pandemic has certainly accelerated the adoption of these economic trends – and is projected to present a new “normal” for global business & economy in the post-pandemic world.

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