The pandemic has clearly changed many things, and we knew that some sectors got a real boost from the various lockdowns. Now, a year on, surveys are emerging showing just how much of an impact the pandemic has had.
The online video and gaming markets were obvious ones for a push forward, and ABI Research believes these markets have now reached an eye-watering $330 billion. The streaming video market also benefited hugely, and many operators have reported that the pandemic has also ‘flattened’ usage as people work from home. The lines between work and play have blurred.
Another sector that has benefited is healthcare, and digital healthcare is now a ‘thing’, thanks to the pandemic. According to STL Partners, via Telecom TV, the digital healthcare market has advanced about four years in the last one. And operators are a natural fit to take this to another level and address it as a valuable vertical in the next few years. STL, however, advises caution as to how far and how fast operators move in this arena. So far, the most valuable benefit has been the rise of remote consultations, as the restrictions of organising a face to face appointment became extremely difficult.
The pandemic has also spawned some new habits and techniques, not least in the area of payments. The new concept of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ is, according to the chief product officer at Envestnet-Yodlee, here to stay. As long as brands treat this area with care, as successful brands must now do, there is no reason not to believe this.
Some areas have been affected by the pandemic but not necessarily in a good way. Customer service has been turned on its head as customers have gone online, shopping from home, and customer service reps have also been forced to work remotely, changing the whole dynamic and honing some processes that were not a priority before the pandemic such as returns. Indeed – this from Infobip (white paper here) – social media has emerged as a new favourite way of interacting with brands, particularly across the Asia Pacific region.
The pandemic has changed many arenas, many for the better, many it has made more challenging and some it has decimated, such as airlines and hospitality. One thing is now for sure, the ‘new normal’ will be anything but normal. Let us hope this is a good thing, overall.