With the 2020 pandemic affecting all aspects of life and the economy, companies discovered newer ways to do business. Shopping and dining habits changed, and even entertainment was consumed differently. The usage of technology brought unexpected success across a variety of industries, allowing employees to remain productive and stay in contact with their colleagues and managers. While most of them were devastated due to the wave, some key sectors emerged winners and became trendsetters as they dramatically changed things.
Corporality Global put some of the winners and losers of the global pandemic on a map to assess which of these industries actually made it through 2020.
Certainly, the biggest winner – cloud and connectivity services burgeoned to new heights, especially with the work-from-home scenario becoming the new normal.
The five most valuable companies that made it to the top are Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook – together, these companies are now worth more than $7.5 trillion.
One of the biggest winners of the pandemic was Amazon. People began ordering online to receive consumables at their doorstep. Big box stores such as Walmart, Costco, Target and Amazon won big time as these stores provided consumers with all the required essentials.
Even as other stores were forced to close for the sprint, curbside pickups elevated online sales, as these retailers were open even during the spring. The post-pandemic pace of growth did not end. In fact, in 2020, they considerably ramped up their digital operations and are well-positioned to see the growth even in the future.
Zoom certainly needs a specific mention. The video conferencing platform remains popular in the slowly emerging post-pandemic market. As the work-from-home experiment became successful, people’s ability to become more productive also improved. The hottest 2020 trades such as Zoom, Amazon and Netflix are looking at higher growth. Work meetings, happy hours, school classes and even weddings were conducted on Zoom.
A glimpse into the growth of the California based tech giant is as follows:
- Revenue growth May through July: 355% to $663.5 million
- Net Profits: $186 million, 33 times more than the year-earlier posting of $5.5 million
- Stock Price increased 7-fold (2020)
- CEO Eric Yuan’s net worth bloated to $21 billion (Courtesy: Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index)
Even as the platform grappled with Zoom bombing attacks into meetings from uninvited guests, provoking a debate on its security, the platform waded through all of it to emerge victorious
With consumers stuck at home in 2020, they looked for opportunities to entertain themselves and stay in touch with their friends. The video gaming industry boomed, and there was a record growth of streaming platforms. Nintendo switch consoles were sold out along with Facebook Gaming and Twitch from Amazon.
With the suspension of traditional outdoor sports, the eSports industry picked up steam. As countries were getting into lockdown mode, Nintendo recognised the need for newer digital avocations and released its ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’. It was a record hit, selling at $60 per piece and around 26 million copies on the whole. More than 100 billion hours of gaming content was viewed, and YouTube recorded its best year ever.
The gaming industry is all set to keep growing even in 2021 because, even in a crushing recession, consumers managed to purchase Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles, which were about $499 per piece.
Shortly after the pandemic struck and crushed all economies, Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoins also took the plunge. At a time when the elections in the U.S. were still undecided, Bitcoins came back and even gained over 100% as it jumped above $14.5k. This year, as we examine the markets, prices have even tripled.
With the weakening of the US Dollar, investors magnetised towards bitcoin, and it became referred to as ‘digital gold’. In 2021, expectations are high, especially with fintech giants such as PayPal opening their doors to users where they can buy, sell and hold bitcoin assets.
The stay-at-home culture of 2020 gave way to fresh content creations and a lot of innovative thought – all through the pandemic. Platforms such as Twitch, which supports such creators, significantly benefited from the content.
- Twitch downloads (Jan to Nov 2020) gained 61% worldwide
- Patreon – membership platform for content creators – downloads grew 43%
- Cameo – celebrity shoutout app – grew 134%
The platforms have now intensified ease of usage where creators can broadcast and even monetize their content. Due to the lockdown, content creation itself has been redefined, and post-lockdown projected to continue on social media platforms. As digital and social media platform awareness increased, creators shared and posted content to showcase their talent. Since then, FB and Snapchat have designed their own creation platforms to keep up with the trend. It is predicted that growth will continue even in 2021.
The Solar industry had an epic year as socially-conscious beings began investing in fossil fuel companies who were also prime sponsors of global warming and climate crises. Most believed that solar firms held the answers to these woes.
The largest rooftop solar company Sunrun went up by more than 300%
There was a strong upward movement of the ESG or Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance. This was powered by a fervour due to a shift in the climate policy floated by Washington. In 2021, the industry faces the challenge of keeping up the excitement. Yet, with President Joe Biden’s entry and promise to address the climate crisis, the stocks are predicted to rise.
With the new coronavirus spread in March of 2020, the sale of hand sanitisers soared, and online vendors began hiking prices due to rationed supplies. Similar products such as liquid soaps and cleaners like Clorox gained in the market. Consumers depended upon disinfectant wipes, and sprays and Clorox’s net profits began growing steadily.
- Hand Sanitiser growth YoY in 2020 increased by 255%
- Liquid hand soaps in Britain grew 7%
- Household cleaners in Britain grew 10%
- Clorox (April to June 2020) sales surge 22% net profits 28%
- Sales of hand sanitisers in Malaysia hit about 1 million ringgits or approx. US$237,176, which is 800% higher
- Hand soap sales in Italy grew 29%
- Italy’s hand sanitiser sales grew 1087%
With the awareness and inclination towards health, the hand sanitiser sales trend is still growing as consumers are taking precautions against unwanted infections.
A surprise winner, the housing market managed to sail through successfully across the pandemic. Real estate prices and sales surged as work from home policies began to spread. There was a need to look for larger housing, especially for families where online schooling also became a part of their regular curriculum. Builders such as DHI (D.R. Horton) and Lennar saw their share prices going through the roof. Associated retailers also observed an increase in their profits.
2021 is projected to stay good for all real estate and construction players. Mortgage rates are lower in the United States due to the Federal Reserve rate cuts of 2020, thus lowering long-term yields of bonds. In 2021, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicted a record, buying volume.
Travel and Hospitality including Airlines
A big-time loser of the pandemic due to social distancing and stay at home norms, both the travel and hospitality industries faced a crunch with flights and borders closing down. People could not head out on vacations, and staying outside of homes was not an option.
According to Livemint, the Airline Industry globally reported a loss of more than US$ 80 billion. These damages are predicted to seep into 2021 to reflect a loss of at least $16 billion. Even during the global financial crisis of 2008 – 2009 and an additional spike in oil prices, the industry at the time, lost only US$31 billion, thus making the dimensions of the crisis incomparable.
The cruise industry was also crushed as voyages by Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian were forcefully suspended. Stocks plummeted down between 45% to 60% for the above.
2021 looks bright for the players, and a rebound is expected as vaccines are available and travellers are due to hit the road. But with video conferencing and online working doing just fine, the industry may not be what it was during the pre-pandemic era.
Grappling with plunging prices, oil, a major commodity saw a slump in 2020. While oil and gas companies are still grounded, crude oil observed some positive effects. Frackers went bankrupt, and the energy sector also went into the negative. S&P 500 was down by more than 30% in 2020, and on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, ExxonMobil emerged as the biggest loser. The summer clearly saw the industry being ousted from the index. As the US economy comes alive in 2021 and with people beginning to fly and drive more, the oil industry should begin seeing some benefits. But the climate crisis seems like a bigger issue with investors dumping fossil fuels.
American Banks decayed due to the pandemic in 2020. Figures were worse than the great depression of 2008 – 2009. While Wells Fargo recorded a mess, big players such as Bank of America, and Citigroup closed lower, as well.
Bank stock prices dipped to less than 70% in 2020
Relative to the market and other financial companies, banks drastically underperformed as the crisis surged. Even as their defaults mount, interest plunge and loan demands shrink, 2021, however, is good news for the banks. But no major collapse was reported due to the band-aid measures of the Federal Reserve.
The world economy came to a grinding halt with the pandemic and impacted malls, which were already in pre-pandemic trouble. Mall-staple brands such as Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus and JC Penny tumbled into a loss. As several people lost jobs, the clothing industry was hit hard as the need to work from home did not invite the buying of office clothes. Most of the big brands fell into bankruptcy too as lockdown orders devastated business and tenants left with billions of dollars in unpaid rent. Malls should be able to survive if non-traditional retailers return to take the place of older ones.
In the early months of the pandemic, the auto industry suffered a big blow as the demand for cars fell (due to work from home norms) and factories shut down. Auto workers lost jobs, and rental car companies stopped buying cars. Even Hertz was forced to file for bankruptcy. But 2021 did see an upturn, and the demand for cars surged faster than ever. But the forecast is not scheduled to reach its 2019 levels any time yet. Rentals did receive an unexpected boost because commuters would not take the crowded public transport and chose to go solo in a UBER.
Theatres around the world shut down due to lockdown norms. Box office sales in the US plummeted to nearly 80% and forced people working from home to choose streaming platforms such as Netflix. The global movie business of about US$43 billion was devastated as Disney, and other streaming channels took over.
Corporality Global believes that with the right approach to marketing and visibility strategies, every company can be revived in 2021. To do this for you, reach out to our team for a consultation.