Drawing on research from industry analysts and economists, The Freedonia Group’s COVID-19 Economic Impact Tracker reveals some fascinating insights into the effects of the coronavirus on a wide array of businesses and markets.
Here are a few recent highlights.
1. Pandemic Heightens the Appeal of Automation
Prior to COVID-19, automation in the meat processing industry was often viewed as wasteful and inexact, but now the use of robotics may become an increasingly popular strategy due to safety concerns and worker shortages amid ongoing virus outbreaks.
As manufacturing technologies have advanced, robotics machinery has become less costly and higher performing than in the past. Companies like Tyson Foods and Cargill have invested heavily in automation technology, and other manufacturers in other industries may follow suit to reduce production costs.
2. More Homeowners Take on Remodeling Projects
How do you fill your time when you are stuck at home? During the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of consumers have decided to renovate their spaces. In the second quarter of 2020, the percentage of homeowners working on a remodeling project nearly doubled from 19% to 36%.
3. Food & Beverage Companies Adjust Their Products to Fit Smaller Gatherings
Many people are intentionally avoiding large, indoor gatherings due to the virus, including holiday and birthday parties. Retailers are adjusting their products to fit smaller-scale celebrations as well. Costco changed its half sheet cakes to smaller 10” cakes. Farmers are offering smaller turkeys, and grocers are developing smaller seafood and appetizer platters.
4. Work-from-Home Ripples Throughout the Economy
Companies are rethinking how important facetime is for their employees. However, if a significant percentage of workers end up working from home permanently, the effects on the economy could be massive.
Commercial real estate and restaurants in office parks will suffer long-term. In addition, more people will construct home offices and buy high-quality office furniture. Consumers will also have less wear and tear on their cars and may give up a second car altogether, impacting the auto industry.
5. The Closure of Movie Theatres Hits Multiple Industries
The closure of movie theatres does not just impact the entertainment industry. Suppliers of soda and snacks such as popcorn and candy will also see falling sales. Packaging companies, especially those that produce cups and lids, will lose a valuable revenue stream as well.
6. Office Breakrooms Get a Makeover
Community breakrooms will be revamped to fit new hygiene needs related to COVID-19. This may result in the use of more coffee machines that offer touchless technology, individual grab-and-go beverages and snacks, and coffee delivery subscriptions for remote workers.
7. The Battle for Same-Day Delivery Intensifies
Amazon and Walmart have fought to dominate same-day delivery, but now other players are entering the fray as online shopping becomes an increasingly important channel.
Bed Bath & Beyond is expanding same-day delivery. Target-owned Shipt now delivers orders for Costco, CVS, and Kroger, and the online grocery delivery service Instacart has seen its order volume skyrocket as well.