The 21st century can be divided into two phases. Pre –Covid and Post Covid. The pandemic has disrupted and changed the life we have been familiar with. It has not only ushered in a new normal in our day-to-day lives but has been a game-changer for many companies as well. This massive shift in daily habits and mindset has impacted the economy heavily. In wake of the pandemic, many small companies found themselves going out of business. Many organizations got restructured, introduced new business practices like price reduction, etc. However, disruptions are inevitable, how the businesses adapt to them is a testament to their resilience. Many companies are trying to adapt, thinking of new business ideas to start so that they can survive and stay relevant. Following are some crucial business trends that are changing the landscape of the economy:
- According to many industry experts, the pandemic might have ushered in the era of digitalization in a big way. E-commerce is doubtless one of the top new business ideas to start in 2021.
- According to a 2021 report titled ‘Global Payments Report by Worldpay FIS revealed that India’s e-commerce industry is slated to grow at least by 84% to 111 billion dollars by 2024. The Covid -19 pandemic undoubtedly played a major role in the acceleration of digital commerce.
- India’s e-commerce will be driven by mobile shopping (21%), digital wallets ( 40%), and credit cards and debit cards ( 15 percent each) services.
Digitalization of logistics in Post Covid World
Ironically, the pandemic has been kind of a boon as well as a bane for the logistics sector. The Covid 19 situation revealed the vulnerabilities of long supply chains and just how subjective they were to disruptions. If even a single factory shut down, this affected the entire supply chain of a company as a whole. So many businesses have decided to restructure the supply chain.
- Unavailability of adequate suppliers during the pandemic led to more localization and shortening of supply chains. Local suppliers are being asked to take on bigger volumes of goods so that goods are delivered effectively in a short period.
- Communication gaps can be one of the major bottlenecks in supply chain systems. In many cases, businesses are just not aware of what is going on at their regional supply chains where sub tiers and sub-sub tiers might play critical roles.
- Many business owners are not updated on the supply chains in non-tier one cities. So ensuring accountability becomes an issue. According to a recent McKinsey & Company survey, many companies might just employ AI and data analytics, automation technologies to audit, and engage with all their value chains more effectively.
- The general and Kirana trade stores, big retail malls are losing relevancy due to stringent social distancing norms. Warehousing is now more prioritized than ever before. Companies are trying to make the inventory close to the area of demand so that supply and delivery can be time-bound.
- Companies are trying to figure out how to operate inventory more efficiently by using omnichannel networks for distribution so that both physical, as well as digital delivery, can be done promptly.
- Multi-modal logistics might be a trend that transforms the logistics sector. Companies are now looking for more cost-efficient transportation systems that can use waterways, air, road, and two-wheeler modes judiciously.
Golden time for healthcare and pharmaceuticals
- As the rates of Covid victims increase through leaps and bounds every year, the demand for effective healthcare and medicine has experienced exponential growth. According to total sales audit data from IMS Health one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical market research, the Indian pharmaceutical market grew by a whopping 59% in April 2021. Moreover, certain therapies have also experienced a surge of growth in 2021. Cardiac therapy grew by 22 % whereas respiratory therapy grew by an astounding 64%
- According to a KPMG survey, private healthcare accounted for about 60% of the inpatient care. As private facilities provided several advantages like isolation beds for treatment, infrastructure for quarantine, home healthcare, testing equipment for government Covid -19 hospitals, etc, their demand grew.
- Digitalized healthcare solutions are also a popular trend in the healthcare industry. So many healthcare providers are switching to the online consultation, appointments, e-prescriptions, etc. Telehealth ( health consultation sessions over audio-only telephonic services) services have become one of the hottest new business ideas to start for healthcare companies.
- Rapid digitalization of healthcare has also lead to the introduction of several track and trace apps which have helped keep track of infected cases. The most famous example is of course Aarogya Setu a syndrome mapping, contact tracing, and self-assessment digital service app developed by National Informatics Centre.
Digital Transformation of Social Work Sector
As we have elaborated before, due to the emergence of the new normal, digitalization has become an integral part of many industries. But digitalization is transforming the social work sector too.
- Many non-profit organizations and communities dedicated to social work have increased the use of digitalization to increase reach, spread awareness, and maintain continuity of service through tools like webinars, virtual meetings. For example, the Naz Foundation, an organization that works on spreading awareness on HIV and promoting sexual health, relied mostly on digital tools like virtual classes to teach life skills like basic financial knowledge, peer pressure, etc to adolescents from marginalized communities.
- Many development organizations also revived their grass root networks and forged collaborations with local authorities like the panchayats, to spread awareness and maximize their impact. For example ChildFund India, an organization dedicated to maternal and child health. This group collaborated closely with various local youth groups, child protection organizations to help spread awareness about these issues and ensure that children had access to local support sources.
The Rise of Edtech
Online education is not a choice anymore post Covid. The education sector is currently in midst of a digital revolution. As pretty much all educational institutions are either switching to digital modes of learning or adopting a hybrid approach to education and slowly breaking away from the traditional brick and mortar schools.
- According to a recent report, India is slated to grow by US 2.28 billion during 2021-25 with a CAGR of 20%. Edtech or digital education is now one of the most popular new business ideas to start.
- The classroom experience is being recreated through Zoom meetings, webinars, etc. Schools are also utilizing artificial intelligence or AI-powered student attendance tracking and examination proctoring to make virtual education more effective.
- Robotics is one of the hot topics in the education sector. Many schools are using robotics to teach STEM concepts (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as well as life skills such as critical thinking skills,
- Many ed-tech platforms are now popular in the education sector as they provide a wide and diverse range of cloud-based services such as online assessments, virtual classes, real-time tracking as well as administrative tasks such as online fee management, parent-teacher meetings, online admission, etc through cloud technology.
- There is also an increase in career-focused learning which guarantees re-skilling and up-skilling. Many working professionals are now seeking to equip themselves with new skills to secure their careers in a job market that has been heavily hit by the pandemic and is now extremely volatile and unpredictable. This had lead to an explosive growth of many educational platforms and apps as well as corporate learning management system ( LMS) which is projected to reach USD 7570 million USD by 2026 at a CAGR of 22%.
Covid 19 has no doubt disrupted the tried and tested, familiar ways of business operations. How various companies adjust to this disruption and adopt new ways to reach out to customers and handle day-to-day operations will be the ultimate litmus test of their staying power.