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Finding opportunities amid the crisis: A look into businesses that have started or flourished amid the pandemic

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, entire industries have been forced to close their doors, whether for the time being or for good. The airline industry, for example, is experiencing their worst year ever for profits after a decade of steady growth. The restaurant industry has only recently begun to pick up the pace again after restaurants in the UK were allowed to reopen on July 4, 2020 and after only a few months back in restricted business, they now find themselves in lockdown number 2 . However, profits are still down nearly 20% compared to last year. 

Despite drops in profits and entire industries at a standstill, some industries have managed not only to stay profitable but to outright flourish amid the pandemic.

Businesses have diversified to help industries in need.

Despite the ever-changing economic environment, many companies have come up with diversification strategies in response to the pandemic to get through these unprecedented times, while others have made drastic, lasting changes to their business models. 

While most businesses have diversified to stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis, others have made the conscientious decision to change their business strategies to lend a hand to appease the need for personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitiser, and ventilators. 

As the virus has evolved, the need for PPE has increased. Shortages of this type of protective equipment have been ongoing, with just 12% of British hospitals reporting that they felt that they were aptly prepared. In response, the government has implemented the ‘make’ strategy to encourage domestic companies to shift their production lines and begin producing PPE. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) identified over 200 manufacturers that could help with the effort. As of May 10, over 1.2 billion pieces of PPE have been delivered to hospitals across the UK. 

Because the government ordered the temporary closure of bars and pubs, distillers across the UK were losing business. Rather than be discouraged, several companies decided to produce alcohol-based hand sanitisers instead. 

Ventilators are also essential in battling the coronavirus. In mid-March, the government requested that companies design and manufacture thousands of ventilators domestically. A group of UK industrial, engineering, and technology companies had come together to form Ventilator Challenge UK in order to produce ventilators for hospitals in the UK. The group includes companies such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, and Ford Motor Company. 

Some restaurants, in light of new social distancing orders, have had to change their business models completely. While some have been focusing on take-out, others have evolved into outright supermarkets. The owners of Prairie, in San Francisco in the United States, didn’t want to see the products that they bought in bulk before the crisis to go to waste. Plus, everyday ingredients such as flour and yeasts were flying off the shelves of “regular” supermarkets, so people were in need. While the restaurant hopes to go back to its roots once the coronavirus pandemic has passed, they are happy that they have been able to stay in business and provide for their customers differently. 

Video calling services see a boost in new users.

With more and more people choosing to work from home, video calling services have seen a steady uptick in users throughout the pandemic. Major players such as Microsoft, Zoom, and Skype, as well as smaller companies such as FreeConferenceCall, have enjoyed a surge of new customers. 

Zoom, in particular, boasted 300 million daily meeting participants as of late April. The company’s sales are up 50% as well as their share prices. 

These video calling services aren’t just for work purposes, either. As people all over the UK are opting to stay at home rather than visit friends and family, video chats also serve as a way to keep in touch with loved ones from a safe distance. 

Online retailers have been making out just fine.

E-commerce sites are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of new orders coming in daily. In particular, Amazon has made a whopping $24 billion since the start of the coronavirus crisis. With more people choosing to stay at home instead of venture out to the open shops, Amazon’s wide variety of products means that you don’t have to go without, even during these strange times. 

Smaller retailers such as the online clothing shop Boohoo have had to adjust their inventory, with more customers opting for comfy clothing for around the house. Interestingly enough, the shop has also seen an increase in top sales, citing the fact that people want to look nice from the waist up for video meetings. Boohoo’s profits are steadily on the rise compared to the same period last year.

Sport is an excellent way to stay positive at home.

With gyms closed, exercise fanatics are on the hunt for at-home solutions to get their workouts in. Whether with actual equipment or by signing up for online training programs, sporty Brits have been keeping up with their exercise routine. Working out at home can help you boost your mood and stay positive whilst stuck at home. 

Bike sales have increased as well as more people who want to avoid crowded public transportation have to get back to the office. The new normal requires adjustments, but people and retailers are making it work. 

Home Office supplies

First it was toilet paper and cleaning supplies that were in short supply, then office supplies started become unobtainable. As home working became more long term, people were realizing that slumping at the sofa was not conducive to a productive work environment, so sales of desks. Office chairs and lap tops peaked.

Pod casting also became more prominent during lockdown with many businesses taking advantage of a captive audience. 

This trend some an increase in headphones, microphones and also business logo signage sales.

As much of the world is looking at lockdown number 2, the latest innovations we are seeing is COVID19 Christmas decorations, merchandise and teachers gifts. Who knows what innovations lie instore for 2020!

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Written by Virily Editor

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