Hello and well done. We’ve survived the pandemic, at least the first wave. As lockdown eases and we are slowly coming out of “hibernation”, let’s look at some of the key trends of what our world will look like post-Covid-19.
To fly or not to fly. While history shows us that it can take over two years for an aviation demand shock to return to normal, many people now forecast a permanent drop in travel, particularly for business. Many believe business and personal travel will remain, however, the way people book will change the transport industry.
Sustainable Fashion. It takes a crisis to form a tactic and fashion is no exception. The crisis will undoubtedly initiate a shift in how fashion is interpreted. This, for some, is seen as a wake-up call for both the consumers and for the industry as a whole, and a call to action for the fashion industry to slow down, move away from mass production, made with less waste, presents an opportunity for reconceptualisation and retraining of designers but also of consumers.
Virtual Experience Economy. Immersive new technologies mean that people can increasingly get their experience-based status fixes from virtual experiences. Social media and eSports are the obvious manifestations of how consumers accrue status in the virtual realm. Watch out for other virtual experiences such as travel, retail, gatherings and more, to take on new levels of meaning.
AI-driven Commerce. Before the pandemic, the increasing power and adoption of AI was the main driver of this trend. Now it’s the sudden sharp increase in demand for contact-free interactions converging with advancements in robotics that is enabling a new breed of automated commerce.
Digital University. A mix bag of factors, a pandemic, high education costs, environmental concerns, and new instructional technology, will increase the popularity of online education. Moreover, because online platforms transcend political boundaries, top universities could gain more market share on a global level, leading to the disappearance of many lesser-known schools.
Digital Workforce. For millions of office workers, working from home has become the new normal. The enforced shift to remote working is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to find out whether home working is as effective as office working, and whether it should continue post-coronavirus. Many businesses may continue in this way to reduce overheads and give employees more flexible working hours.
Cashless economy. The global spread of covid-19 has already led few nations to disinfect, destroy, and reprint their currencies. The concept of a “once-in-a century pathogen” may require a “once in-a-century solution”. Part of that will involve the push for all nations to move toward digital payments.
Virtual Status Symbol. Physical goods have long had a monopoly on status. The younger consumers have long embraced virtual goods, but now expect new technologies (Augmented Reality and blockchain), the growing desire for sustainable consumption, to converge and push the recognition that virtual goods can be genuine status symbols into other demographics.
New Style of Socialising. Social distancing will be with us for a while, even when it is hugely challenging for a culture that likes to be sociable. As lockdown begins to ease there are signs that there may be ways to maintain social distancing and safety while opening to the public. This forces pubs, restaurants and public places to completely rethink how they serve customers. Previously crowded spaces will be much more controlled, with less capacity and payments accepted online only.
These trends can provide opportunity for us, as professionals and good citizens of the world, to be at the forefront of a systemic move towards a new kind of world, and pursue its advantages. Stay well.