Raise your hands if you’re ready to leave this year behind and start a fresh start? Yes, same.
But before cheering for 2021, let’s pause and reflect on the few businesses that despite a global pandemic managed to record growth and success.
- Virtual Collaboration and Communication Services
I think it’s safe to say that 2020 will be remembered for the Coronavirus pandemic, but also for the year cloud services and the SaaS market took the centre stage. With a switch of mass remote working, Gartner predicted the software as a service market to grow from $104.7 billion in 2019 to $120.9 billion by 2021.
To this advantage came Zoom blossoming as a household name by March as it reported a 355% growth year-on-year. This teleconferencing company had doubled it’s annual sales forecast as a surge of users joined to connect during work from home as well as to celebrate with their family and friends across.
What worked for them?
Zoom offered a free version of its service, a USP for 40 million people in the US who because of the pandemic had lost their jobs. Not just that, they also worked towards resolving issues faced by current users, i.e. privacy issues enabling outsiders to make uninvited appearances on meetings.
To tackle that, the company made several efforts to introduce security protection through chat encryptions, data protection features and authentication methods, allowing more than 100,000 schools worldwide to use Zoom for online classes.
2. Subscription Video On Demand Services
With theme parks, movie production and live sports shut down, an existential financial crisis was inevitable for Disney amidst this pandemic. But believe it or not, despite a rocky year, they managed to come up with a solution, i.e. utilising Disney + to their benefit. With the need for entertainment especially when at home, this sector worked significantly well as they reported 73 million paid subscriptions- smashing their goal of 60-90 million by 2024.
What worked for them?
Well they understood the need of boost needed amongst these crazy times especially for their target audience- children and won them through movies that provided warmth and nostalgia. They are also introducing fresh content like their megahit “Hamilton” encouraging people to stay at home and released movies that are released in theatres faster onto streaming services to drive subscriptions.
3. Delivery Services
With the general public practicing social distancing and shut down or restrictions in restaurants, more families are stocking up on goods and eating at home. To which many businesses have taken advantage of this trend to offer meal prep and delivery seeing increased demand.
With supermarkets remaining open as “essential businesses” some delivery services businesses like Instacart boomed significantly due to their partnerships with grocery stores like Walmart, Costco, etc.
What worked for them?
With indoor dining gone and the threat to go in supermarkets, food delivery platforms grew lightning fast with Uber Eats, Door Dash and Postmates as the talk of the town. In fact not just for big grocery stores, ride sharing of Uber and Lyft allowed start-ups and home based businesses to flourish like Eat Clean Bro, a New Jersey based meal prep and delivery service to be flooded with a surge of orders by 40%.
4. Home Fitness Apps
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has globally restrained and limited the capacity for fitness centers, creating an obstacle for its members and their fitness-related goals. With the enforcement of social distancing and limited capacity measures, only 20% of Americans are comfortable returning to a gym during the pandemic.
What worked for them:
This significant fear and anxiety of working out at a fitness centre did not trump the satisfaction of attaining their fitness goals and led to most opting out of their memberships. During lockdown, gyms and fitness studios were left with no other choice than to increase their digital presence.
Many started offering virtual classes, allowing members to access services from the comfort of their own homes. And here’s also where health and fitness apps skyrocketed with a spike of 46% downloads worldwide and 1.5 billion mobile users. The availability of various workout plans, diet plans and tips and tricks made most users forget about the gym especially with the benefit of the comfort of their homes, absence of commuting and lower cost. Fitness related YouTube channels were also quick on catching onto this trend.
While many businesses struggled with brinks of bankruptcy, a counter-trend of new business trends formation was also visible. But did you notice a trend or a similarity in all the above listed success stories? You got it! It was the ability to understand the changing needs and innovate accordingly that made all of them catapult through the roof.
An ancient Chinese proverb claims "When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills."
So it’s up to you what you choose to build!