Our New Way of Business
The COVID-19 Virus has affected the way we do business in several different ways. The first of which is the drastic rise in e-commerce. This could be due to the increased convenience, safety concerns, lockdown regulations, or even personal preference.
The fact of the matter is that there are thousands of people getting sick every day. Before covid having groceries or that trendy new outfit delivered was a matter of convenience, but now not going to the store and touching things everyone else has touched could be the difference between life and death for your family and strangers alike. Never before has there been such a high percentage of e-commerce growth, Forbes reported that since May of last year e-commerce has gone up to $52 billion. Memorial Day sales jumped 75% from $2 billion last year to $3.5billion this year, in-store pick up increased by 195% in May, and flight bookings tripled from early April to late May compared to last year, presumably because many people wanted to return home to quarantine with loved ones. Which has shown a shift in the number of people investing in e-commerce related businesses.
The flip side of e-commerce growth is that a lot of in-person businesses have been steadily decreasing. During this pandemic, many businesses were forced to shut down temporarily to help decrease the number of people gathering in one place and also in hopes that the number of cases would go down. Yet that harmed businesses, people’s mental health, and the economy as a whole. Early in the pandemic people were made aware that a lockdown was soon coming into effect and some of their favorite places were going to temporarily close down, many people went out without masks not yet understanding the severity of the situation. This resulted in COVID-19 cases skyrocketing during the first 3 months in the United States with cases rising so rapidly, there was no hesitation to extend the time we'd be in lockdown and businesses would remain closed.
The extended amount of time with no customers resulted in many businesses going bankrupt and being forced to shut down permanently. Roughly 97,966 businesses had to shut down permanently. Kevin Kuhlman, the vice president of federal government relations for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), recently was quoted saying that "if economic trends continue at this rate, one in five business owners anticipates they won’t make it until the end of the year."
The positive outcomes for e-commerce businesses contrasted with the negative results for in-person businesses will change the way investors will approach funding moving forward. However, the conversation is not just e-commerce v.s. in person anymore as the pandemic wages on the products people are buying is also changing dramatically. Electronics and apparel purchases increased by 11% and 12% possibly because of an increased amount of people working from home. The shifting demand that people have in 2021 and beyond is slowly becoming more apparent and without question, this data will affect future business decisions. People will buy what they want and no one wants to spend money on something they don't like unless they absolutely need to. So as a business person in today's economy, it is crucial to meet the wants and needs of people today and tomorrow by studying and inferring the coming trends.