How the Market May Look Going Forward With the Pandemic
Where We Started
When first reports of a new epidemic in China first appeared, nobody had any idea what impact this thing called Corona Virus was going to have. Even when it started to spread internationally, businesses were quite laid back and really paid very little heed. Now a year later, we realize just how much this ongoing event has changed our planet.
Even before the pandemic, the world was going through a period of change. Governments were beginning to realize that the existing employment models were becoming outdated. Automation and robotization were reducing the need for so many people to work. Computers, robots, and automated machinery were so much cheaper and more efficient than human beings.
Governments worldwide were investigating "Minimum basic income" and other schemes that compensated former workers who were no longer needed. The "demographic timebomb " problem resulted in fewer people of working age than senior citizens. Falling birth rates in many countries meant that a decreasing number of workers supported the pensions of a greater number of older people.
If we also consider the growing trend that has been moving retail and services online for the last decades, add this to the aforementioned employment trends and demographic trends, and then introduce the pandemic and consequent lockdowns, we have the perfect storm that could change society forever.
The impact of the Pandemic by the use of lockdown and restricting movement
Governments have chosen to deal with the COVID-19. Pandemic by reducing face to face contact in everyday life. There already was a growing trend toward online activity, as described in the previous paragraph. By enforcing a regime where people were working, learning, and socializing online, the existing trend was only encouraged to happen at a much faster rate. Some people had an inbuilt resistance to moving online, and the lockdown has given them no choice but to try it. Many have found that their fears were unjustified and have taken to online shopping with gusto. Many people who have been allowed to work at home have also discovered they like it (not all but some), and companies have realized that it may well be possible to get rid of expensive real-estate in the center of large cities and have people work from home instead. Certainly, from at least the point of view of those that have adapted to these changes, there is a push for the "temporary" changes to become permanent.
If we take the Financial District of London, some 1/2 million commuters make the trip every day in normal times. Most other global cities will have a great many commuters too. Imagine, in London, if the vast majority of commuters were to work from home and did not make the city's daily trip. What impact would have on the retail businesses and other service businesses in the area? I refer to coffee bars, restaurants, hotels, office suppliers, cleaning services etc., etc.
The transport needs of the capital would completely change, resulting in a huge downsizing of capacity. the same scenario would be played out in major cities worldwide. They suddenly had a massive oversupply of office space, and millions of service staff left without jobs.
The End of Suburbia
If people are no longer making the daily trek to the office from the commuter belts around large cities, why would people feel compelled to live there anymore since they could have a comparably sized house substantially cheaper further away from the big cities and by the coast, with a much-improved environment?
What has the pandemic taught us?
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have seen that smaller businesses that can adapt to the current situation are doing ok. The companies that are really suffering are the ones locked into a given business model and lacking flexibility. This will be the case in the future. As the Pandemic eventually peters out and sees what the market is like, companies can reconfigure themselves to the new reality that will thrive. Others less able may well become the final victims of the pandemic.
The Effect on the Market
With the vast amounts of change this scenario will cause, the result will be a huge disruption of the marketplace with older giant corporations with high real estate overheads being undercut by leaner, fitter businesses that have small out of town corporate headquarters and the majority of staff working from home., resulting in huge cost reductions.
With an economy in which both consumers and service providers work digitally, and retail operates online, there would be less reliance on transport infrastructure except for the fleets of delivery trucks required to deliver all the food and general goods purchased through online stores.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to a huge loss of life worldwide. And challenges us with unprecedented changes. We face a simultaneous hit on Health structures, Food systems, and in the world of work. The economic effects have had a permanent impact on many millions of people, some of which will face extreme poverty and hunger in already weak economies. Some 50% of the 3.3 billion global workforces have lost or are at risk of losing their livelihoods. Viewing the Pandemic from within richer western countries, we do not see the true impact globally.
Employees in the informal economy are at the greatest risk because of little or no social benefits and healthcare without earning any income; many people cannot feed themselves and care for their families. For most people, no income will result in no food, less food, or poor-quality food.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on worldwide food production. System and showed us how easy it could be disrupted. Border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement have prevented farmers from buying supplies and selling their produce. This has caused substantial disruption in international food chains. Many farms lie abandoned, and many elements of the food chain have closed forever. The global community is going to have to rebuild much of the international food chains from scratch. This may be an opportunity to construct a different, more sustainable model.
Based on a Joint statement by ILO, FAO, IFAD, and WHO
In High, Middle, and Low-income countries, the CODIV-19 Pandemic has created major concerns about how the pandemic impacts employment. Companies that have been hit hard by the pandemic are simultaneously considering the effects of low sales and staff availability. Companies are struggling to retain staff so that when the upturn does arrive, they have the capacity to bounce back, but in trying to retain the staff, they are facing costs they can ill afford.
Based on information supplied by the World bank
The longer-term social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic are still unknown, but it is clear that smart retailers have to consider what the retail industry will look like in the future so that once the worst of this. Pandemic is over; recovery can begin. Before the Pandemic, there had been a long-term movement towards online shopping, with many bricks and mortar operations finding themselves unable to compete. Many household names have disappeared in recent years. Since the Pandemic, there has been a major switch to online shopping at a rate many times that of previous change. Even people who proclaimed a dislike of the concept have been forced to try it, and many of them have now changed their views. Will the switch to online continue at this new faster pace after the pandemic? Nobody really knows, but some retail malls and individual retailers' viability must now be in question.
Based partly on information from KPMG.
In a recent poll, it was established that at least 48% of employees would work at least some of their time from home after the pandemic. That represents an 18% shift since the Pandemic began.
Information provided by Poll of clients of Gartner
The University of Chicago has estimated that only 37& of American jobs could be carried out from home. Statistics show that before the Pandemic, the majority of American employers did not favor home working. However, since the Pandemic, that has switched completely, and most of them are in favor. The change in attitude has been a direct result of experiencing it during the pandemic.
Just before the Pandemic, Microsoft in Japan, a notoriously stressful work environment, made some big changes in their employees' function. The company reduced its workweek from five days to four days. Both emails and meetings were discouraged in favor of an online chat tool. After these changes had been tried out, the staff were polled to see their response. 82% of the workforce voted in favor of the changes, and year on year, there was a 39% increase in sales for each worker, 59% less paper consumed, and a 23% reduction in electricity consumption.
Based on information from the Economist Magazine
We do not yet know the final situation after the Pandemic, and people probably underestimate how much longer this is going on. Some of this article has verged on extreme changes to the marketplace. Other parts have been quite conservative, in my opinion. We do not yet know which end of that scale will be closest to reality, but it would be wise to consider all possibilities.