With a Covid-19 vaccine slowly making its way around the world and the Biden administration taking over, it may finally be time to imagine a post-pandemic world and the opportunities available in it. While several industries have clearly thrived during the pandemic, many of these winners are already becoming overcrowded with competition (see the entrance of SoulCycle as well as new well-funded players such as Zwift, Tempo, and Echelon into the at-home fitness market). What remains? Here are some of the opportunities in three industries poised for growth in the coming years:
1. Investment and savings apps
As a rational response to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and politics, Americans are saving more of their personal income than ever before. By some accounts, the total amount of household savings induced by the pandemic alone is approximately half a trillion dollars, leaving a huge market for products helping households to manage this savings. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that this not a fleeting trend, as personal savings remains at heightened levels despite the election being over and the vaccine rolling out. The pandemic showed Americans that the rainy day of a rainy day fund is more likely to happen than previously thought. Therefore, products that help people save will therefore be poised to do well in the early Biden years.
2. Retraining and upskilling
Another area poised for growth is the world of training and work. Several aspects of the pandemic have resulted in the need for retraining and upskilling of existing workers. First, while we will see the recovery of most industries in the coming post-pandemic years, some may never fully recover (e.g., business travel), and even the most resilient may take years to rebound to pre-pandemic levels. With unemployment in some of these industries hovering around 20 percent, workers will need new skills and training. Second, the pandemic has made what used to be an optional digitization of work into a necessity for most companies, with no signs of going back. Even prior to the pandemic, a massive retraining of the workforce was necessary because of the increased usage of digital communication platforms like Slack and Zoom, and automation and integration of artificial intelligence of work. And now, the Covid-19 pandemic has even further accelerated the digital transformation of work, with many C-suite leaders reporting inadequate skills in digitization of their workers as one of their biggest hurdles to progress. Therefore, opportunities exist for companies in the coming years specializing in upskilling existing workers to satisfy this increasing need.
3. Addressing supply chain vulnerabilities and fulfillment
The supply chain is another area poised for growth. Whereas prior to the pandemic, supply chain models were focused on cost reduction, C-suite executives are now much more likely to invest in new supply chain models that bring foreign activities home, or use digitization and automation to increase supply chain resilience. Similarly, as many small businesses have shifted focus to direct-to-consumer and experienced the efficiencies that come with this, fulfillment solutions for companies have become increasingly valuable. Fulfillment outsourcing reduces the costs of inventory storage as well as the problems of packing and shipping operations, allowing companies to focus on their competitive advantage instead.
It is likely that the totality of the first four years of the Biden presidency will be focused on the recovery from this crisis. With millions still unemployed and entire paradigm shifts in the way we do business occurring, there is no doubt that new unicorns will emerge that address these changes.