In a time when so many are suffering and there’s mass uncertainty about how and when things are likely to return to normal, or at least something that resembles normal, it’s difficult to think about the small segment of the world who are probably benefiting to some degree as a result of this pandemic situation.
Most of these insights are “word on the street” so feel free to comment or share on social media and start a discussion.
Our state (MA) has only been locked down for a few days but watching and listening to consumers indicates (obviously) unprecedented changes in human behavior. It’s going to be interesting to see what behaviors will stick after the crisis is over. Maybe these early observations can provide us with some predictions?
With gyms and bootcamps out of commission in most areas, people are turning to alternative options. Fitness professionals are instructing classes via social media live feeds (e.g. Instagram Live) and more than one family I know has purchased a Peloton in the last few days. What does this mean? Does it have any relevance to companies and industries seeing a lift outside of that one company? Our wager is that where possible an early spike in delivered home fitness equipment.
Obviously this could be at the cost of the wider fitness industry short term. The larger globo-gym type companies will likely prevail but it will be a shame to see some of the smaller, privately run health and fitness venues shut up shop if people aren’t willing to keep their memberships going. We may also see increased gym membership fees when things open up again to compensate for lost earnings during this period of self-isolation and social distancing.
Companies we like that we’re sure must be seeing lift:
- Nordic Trak
- Rogue Fitness (a supplier of the stuff cross fitters use)
- STRAVA – software for cyclists, runners, walkers – community “ride with” features
- Map My Ride – software for cyclists
No real surprise here. By all early accounts, Amazon is seeing a tremendous rush in orders. It’s been reported that Amazon are hiring an additional 100K warehouse workers to cope with the spike in demand. The company has also increased their delivery turnaround promise to align with longer wait times but for the time being at least, they are still fulfilling orders.
Video Conferencing Services
Obviously the resultant work from home and study from home boom that has become a necessity for society to keep functioning is bolstering services like Join.me, Zoom and Webex as the tools needed to enable continued communication and collaboration.
In my house alone, 2 mid-career and 2 young adults are using 4 different service accounts enabled by employers or schools and all (except the school one) being reimbursed by employers (for now). That’s just one household. Imagine an entire city…state….country. Proof of this increase in these services can be seen in the outages that many of these platforms were experiencing earlier this week. Most are working tirelessly to boost their capacity in the coming days to cope with the volume of new and concurrent users.
Food Delivery Services
It’s been suggested that food delivery is possibly the safest way to get food in your house during the pandemic. Here’s a useful article with tips on ordering food online in a pandemic. This may seem counterintuitive especially because you can always find articles (maybe written by opposing industry groups) about how unsafe food delivery can be. That means that restaurants, pizzerias that were already highly focused on delivery have a chance to make through this crisis and even profit. Local regulations will relax to help food establishments leverage technology and stay afloat too. Many local governments are relaxing their rules around alcohol delivery to allow for food and alcohol together. In addition, services like Uber Eats have removed their delivery fees in support of local restaurants.
Streaming Entertainment Services
Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Apple TV, etc, etc. By all accounts they are adding accounts at a much faster pace as kids stay home and are allowed endless screen time to get through the crisis. Wired reported that while movie theatres and other social entertainment venues are obviously suffering at the hand of the pandemic, the various online streaming platforms offer “a new age of being alone together” as we all struggle with the newly coined, official recommendation: Social Distancing.
As it finally becomes clear to all that this crisis is not a joke, many industries are hurting. We are just beginning to “face the enemy” as the Governor of New York says and we have a long way to go before the pandemic ends. Even after it ends, there’s no doubt the economic backlash will be crippling to many.
However, the faster we observe what’s happening and adapt to changing behavior and conditions, the faster we will get through this and come out the other side. We hope these observations at the very beginning of the crisis help you to think about ways you can innovate and succeed in e-commerce.