The winners and the losers of the pandemic
We are all in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. The way the pandemic affects us depends on our type of work, professional qualifications and the sector in which our company operates.
Covid-19 changed ongoing worldwide flows: flow of data/information, flow of finance, flow of goods and flow of people (cf. David Bosshart, GDI)
- ICT and generally tech companies. The Covid crisis had no negative impact on tech companies, on the contrary. Technology is generally seen as the antidote of the covid problems. Big winners are the communication and video conferencing platforms and applications, online sales and gaming applications. Generally, all data communication companies since the flow of data/information has highly increased.
- Residential real estate brokers: Movement of families toward the outskirts of towns.
- Life science (pharmaceuticals, biomedicine, laboratories and health services etc.).
- Insurance companies: although there is a reduction in customers, with confinement and less movements there were fewer insurance incidences. Real estate movements cause new house acquisitions which generates new home insurances.
- Financial services: Supplied increasingly online (virtual flow of finance). The stock exchanges suffered little losses compared to households. The pandemic affects more the middle class, people who have lost their jobs or who must take risks because their work requires a physical presence. In a crisis everyone needs liquidity. Banks can count on demand and some statal protection, or compared to other sectors, privileged treatment by governments. However, after the crisis banks will have to face the strongly increasing competition of fintech startups.
- Transport and logistics BtC:
Flow of goods: reorganization of logistics of goods. More products are purchased directly online and delivered at home via carriers that are able to cover the difficult so-called "last mile" of delivery.
- Tourism: Sharp decrease of travelling (Flow of people). Hotels and accommodations, restaurants, tourist transport companies, airlines, shops with tourist products and luxury products (usually acquired by tourists).
- Organization of events, congresses and business trips: Although the interest in an exchange of information and professional experiences will continue to exist, probably more often this will happen through video calls. This reduces the number of congresses with physical presence and the volume of business trips. Despite having been forced to make the change, many people enjoy a less frenetic professional life, and discover that in fact many trips can be replaced by digital communication.
- Culture and Entertainment: Major public events, sport events, music events, theater and cinema went to nearly zero. They will resurrect, but the question is which companies are still existing when this happens.
- Commercial real estate owners (not brokers): Property owners, especially of office buildings and retail stores, will lose income from rents. Not only because of bankruptcies, but also because working from home will reduce the need for office space. The workplace will be redefined.
With the increase of available spaces, renting prices will decrease. However, real estate brokers will profit from all these new real estate movements.
- Fossil energy companies: During the pandemic fossil fuel production and distribution companies decreased in sales because of the reduction of travelling. After the pandemic they will struggle because of the acceleration of the energy transition.
- Gourmet and department stores: People cook at home with essential products and increasingly place food orders online.
- Textile and fashion industry: Fewer customers on the street, and almost no tourists. Textile manufacturers suffer from the cancellation of orders.
Neither winners nor losers
- Agri-food: Food being an essential need for human beings, there will always be a demand for it, even in the worst crisis. However, there is a shift in demand from expensive, non-essential products to essential products, and a shift from industrial to more sustainably produced product
- Distribution: For now, people still need stores. However, in the medium to long term, shopping malls and big supermarkets become history, as more and more people discover the comfort of online shopping, making mostly good experiences with delivery services. The doubts that existed before the pandemic are now dispelled. Direct distribution from producers (producer groups) to customers will increase strongly, by own delivery of with the help of a delivery service.