COVID-19: 5 Businesses on the Rise

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14 Apr 2020
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7 min
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Maria D.
Copywriter

COVID-19 has changed the way we do business. While people turned to digital tools to keep some semblance of normality, companies are left with a bleach choice. It's either to adapt to a new reality or take a long, long break from work.

Let’s have a look at how exactly COVID-19 implies for sectors from education to food delivery, what businesses do to make it through the outbreak, and how digitalization can help them.

Table of contents

Business #1. Remote Learning

Khan Academy experienced a 250% surge in users; the number of learners on Unacademy had tripled. We also get a lot of requests to help build an e-learning platform these days.

It's not hard to tell why: while many schools and universities had some experience with virtual learning (like Harvard Business School or Staffordshire University), most edu organizations are not really set up for online classes.

Especially when it comes to giant numbers of impacted students (according to UNESCO Institute for Statistics):

  • 1,576,021,818 affected learners
  • 91.3% of total enrolled learners
  • 192 country-wide school closures
COVID-19: schools closed

COVID-19 impact on education, by UNESCO

Edu establishments, offline courses, and conferences, they all require stable and secure web platforms or mobile apps to reach their students.

And while video-conferencing tools like Google Classroom, Moodle, WebEx or Zoom do help, they may have some issues with security or miss features like:

  • preparing their own courses
  • having access to subject-specific materials
  • setting up online quizzes
  • managing students’ curriculum, grades, and so on.

Here’s one of the recent success stories, I’ve stumbled onto: a UK edtech startup, Lingumi has recently raised €4.5 million Series A funding to continue developing the world’s best teaching experience.

Lingumi is meant to transform how toddlers learn critical skills, and the creators say its user base grew 50% during China's lockdown.

Business #2. Telehealth

There was some progress in telehealth before the COVID-19 outbreak, yet not too great. Before the pandemic, only 1 in 10 U.S. patients used telemedicine services.

But right now, healthcare systems are being pushed to expand their telemedicine through smartphones, tablets, and other devices.

Appointments via PlushCare, a service that lets people find and meet with a doctor online, are up by 70%. Amwell, another e-health service, increased its app use by 158% in the U.S.

Online doctor visit

How online doctor visit looks like in PlushCare

Dedi Gilad
“Telehealth is bridging the gap between people, physicians and health systems, enabling everyone, especially symptomatic patients, to stay at home and communicate with physicians through virtual channels”

Sure, telemedicine won't help with coronavirus testing but a remote video consultation is something these apps and websites work for. That would be enough to reduce the pressure on medical workers and not to lose regular patients while keeping everyone safe.

Business #3. Streaming Services

The current situation is a dream coming true for video streaming services like Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and Disney+: people are staying home and watching movies in their free time.

Media consumption increase (video&music streaming), by country (Source: Statista)
Activity Worldwide Italy Spain France Germany Chine USA UK Australia

Watching more

27%

27%

13%

14%

11%

31%

24%

15%

15%

Listening more

13%

9%

10%

5%

5%

17%

7%

6%

5%

According to Recurly Inc., early returns show that paid subscriptions for streaming TV and video jumped 32% the week of March 16. Actually, the content in such a high demand Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and YouTube have to reduce the bandwidth to keep their services running.

Todd Juenger
“We believe as an increasing number of people experience Netflix, at an especially high rate of usage, they will be loath to go back to life without it. The adoption of streaming will be accelerated and further ingrained into the culture.”

Viewers need content these days, and if you can provide it – or know where to get it – it’s the best possible time for launching an online streaming service. Or expanding your current one: to new video formats and platforms like Android TV and tvOS.

!

It takes more than building a website. Check our guide about video streaming websites: how to make one and how to get it filled with content.

Business #4. Food Delivery

If you own a restaurant business, it’s the golden age of food delivery.

Offering delivery can help restaurants mitigate costs during this period of disruption and get back to normal working conditions much faster.

For example, in the U.K., people had already begun using delivery services more actively a few days prior to the lockdown.

Food delivery usage during COVID-19

Increased use of food delivery due to COVID-19 (Source: Statista)

According to the snap poll on March 18, 2020, 60% of 18-24-year-olds had already increased the frequency they use delivery services. 40% of the 35 to the 54-year-old age group is very likely to do it.

Uber Eats has seen an increase in the number of restaurants looking to offer delivery – including a 10x increase in self-sign-ups. Higher demand for their services has led to Uber recruiting new drivers to join their delivery staff.

It's pretty easy for restaurants to work with services like Uber Eats, Postmates, or Swiggy. Still, there's a catch called 'delivery fees.'

For example, Uber Eats charges a restaurant 30% of their listed prices for delivering their food. If your burger costs $10, Uber Eats will take $3 as a delivery fee. (Due to the lockdown, Uber has waived the delivery fee for some restaurants, but only in US & Canada).

If you want your restaurant to work at full capacity and not lose money on fees, go digital. Make a food delivery app or an AI-chatbot that can process orders in Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

Business #5. Online Retail

During massive lockdowns, the best way to reach customers for most retailers is to switch online. Retailers who have both a physical store and an ecommerce website or apps use the latter to cover the losses, at least partially, from the closure of the former.

The COVID-19 Commerce Insight tracker shows the boost of ecommerce revenue up 37% in the past few days, compared to the same time in 2019. Orders are up 54%.

The map shows how ecommerce and retailers (online) are performing in the last 7 days, compared to the same period of 2019.

Online retail during COVID-19

COVID-19 commerce insight by Emarsys & GoodData

Let's go over the numbers by counties:

  • Сanada. +133% growth in revenue, 200% in orders
  • USA. +42 in revenue, 50% in orders
  • Australia. +86% revenue, +104% orders
  • Germany. +40 revenue, +68% orders
  • UK. +50% revenue, +133% orders
  • Sweden. +50% revenue, +23% orders

Right now, as people use digital methods to fight COVID-19, retailers need to ensure smooth and fast customer experiences on their ecommerce websites and apps. Or at least launch them, if it hasn’t been done yet.

Here’s What You Can Do

Now is not the best time for tourism, airlines, or sporting events, but some businesses aren't shutting down – but hiring as quickly as they can to meet the demand.

Most of such companies are well set up in terms of digital: Netflix, Amazon, Uber Eats, and Coursera already know how to let their customers decide when and where to do business.

And here’s how you can follow them:

  • If you work in education, think about making an online edu platform – to keep in touch with your students during the lockdown and after it.
  • Want to resolve issues in the healthcare sector? Make a medical app to consult your old and new patients no matter where they or you are.
  • Thought about expanding your streaming business to new platforms? Video-on-demand services are flourishing these days: Disney+ has recently jumped to 50m subscribers after just 6 months of work.
  • Same for food delivery: if you think you’re ready to introduce a delivery service, do it now. Help your restaurant business not to lose customers, and stop wasting money on fees to delivery partners.
  • Finally, if you’re working in the retail sector and don’t have an ecommerce website yet, it’s high time to start working on it – right when the whole world is shopping online.
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