There is no doubt that for the majority of people and businesses, the pandemic was not a financially successful period. The number of lost working hours in 2020 alone amounted to the same as 255 million full-time jobs.
As far as business closures were concerned, many famous names disappeared from the high streets in the UK and the shopping malls of the US. There were 200,000 more closures than forecast in the states in 2020.
Yet, for all the woe and misery sustained in many sectors during this time, many businesses found a way to push on through. And of these businesses, quite a few managed to actually thrive, and see what may be looked back on as a fruitful period.
Which businesses increased their customer base and thrived during Covid?
It won’t come as a surprise that a number of the triumphs are those businesses that primarily use the internet for their sales. However, not all the successful industries relied solely on ecommerce, and a few found increased sales and profits regardless.
Here are some of the businesses that thrived from the start of the pandemic until the end of 2021.
Food & grocery services delivered
Most traditional land-based retailers saw drops in sales and were on occasion forced to close. Grocers and supermarkets saw increased sales as panic buying arrived along with the pandemic.
It wasn’t only panic purchases of dried goods and toilet rolls that occurred though. As restaurants closed, food delivery services saw a swell in their customer base. Uber Eats saw a 30% surge in customers during the first quarter of 2020 as people became wary about going outside their homes, or were on lockdown.
Online casinos hit the jackpot
Thousands of people were suddenly out of work in Las Vegas as the casino industry ground to a halt. The online sector, therefore, took over swiftly and grew beyond all forecasts and predictions.
As traditional gaming establishments closed, players headed online. It wasn’t only seasoned players that pivoted though. Individuals seeking new entertainment looked for casinos online to play card games and slots and to try and win some money. For many, using online casinos was a means to continue their hobby, for others it was to find some entertainment and relieve the monotony of the lockdown.
Guitar manufacturers played a pretty tune
While it may not have seemed the most essential purchase during a global pandemic, the guitar manufacturing industry saw a boom period.
Whether it was simply to take up a new hobby or to cross something off the bucket list, guitar sales surged. Fender and Gibson saw record sales, and customers were warned of delayed delivery times.
Real estate was a seller’s market during Covid
Proof that not everything that sold well during the pandemic was online, the housing market acted unpredictably in the face of a recession.
Understanding when to sell a home is vital to getting close to the asking price and creating a quick sale. The pandemic may not have seemed like the best time to offload a property, but records have shown that 2020-2022 was an excellent selling period for real estate.
From almost the beginning of 2020 until September 2021, house prices in the US continued to rise as the demand increased. Low-interest rates were one of the causes, as was the increase in remote workers needing adequate space.
The garden industry grew
The green industry in particular did well during the pandemic, especially in 2020. Out of 4,200 participants in one study, 1 in 3 said they started gardening because they were home a lot more often.
However, many did so to make themselves more sustainable due to fears about produce supplies. 13% of respondents feared food shortages and will continue to garden, reported Science Daily.
Online retailers, of course
It’s no secret that online retailers thrived during the pandemic, but it would be remiss not to acknowledge them briefly. Clearly, Amazon was the big winner, but the pandemic has seen a digital transformation in retail that will continue to expand.
Businesses that use local SEO will have gained neighborhood custom
Travel restrictions meant that many people started to rely more on their local businesses. In the long term, it could be hoped that this practice will continue, and the internet can help.
Any business that understood the need for local search engine optimization is likely to have attracted new customers during the pandemic. The pandemic has shown that businesses need to adapt and be ready for all eventualities, however unlikely they may be.
Streaming services entertained the masses
The obvious reason for the growth in subscribers to streaming services would be the lockdowns and the shuttering of non-essential services. As everyone stayed at home more, and cinemas closed, entertainment was sought out online.
Platforms such as Netflix offered free trials which often led to paid subscriptions for the company. Yet, the success seen in the pandemic may not continue now restrictions are lifted.
Netflix lost 200,000 customers at the start of 2022 and was expected to lose a further 2 million in the next quarter. It seems that the surge in subscribers during Covid wasn’t sustainable, and now cinemas and other entertainment venues are open, the need has subsided.
Although Netflix is blaming password sharing, it could simply be that the content isn’t causing the demand for people to pay monthly fees as much as it was.
Businesses that used vertical integration were ready
As businesses were not expecting the impact of the pandemic, many were simply in no state to survive. Many small businesses have limited liquid assets and can struggle with cash flow. It wouldn’t have taken long for the pandemic to have caused them real problems.
The ones that survived and did well during those years were the businesses that had already streamlined and looked to make themselves more efficient.
Vertical integration means having control and ownership over all business aspects including shipping, distribution, suppliers, and retail operations. Those that were capable of retailing online also may have thrived despite the lockdowns.
It is clear that some sectors such as ecommerce will continue to thrive despite travel restrictions and lockdowns being a thing of the past. Whether all these businesses will continue to grow is debatable.
Online casinos are still hugely popular, but the streaming service industry is becoming saturated. Food delivery services are convenient, but they can’t match the social nature of visiting a restaurant. And, how many guitars brought during the pandemic are already for sale on eBay?
Still, the pandemic has shown the need to be ready for the unexpected. Streamlining, improved efficiency, and the use of the internet, are essential if businesses are to thrive when the next recession or pandemic hits.