The Thrive & Strive of Several Industries in Times of Corona-virus (Part I).
Before you read
This article is divided into several parts. Part 1 discussed only 5 industries experiencing change due to the Coronavirus. However, it should be noted that many other industries are experiencing change as well, whether positive or negative. More on that in the next articles. Stay tuned !
On January 30 of 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared a global health emergency. The Coronavirus has affected worldwide travel, leading to flight cancellations, quarantines, and other breakdowns in movement. The virus has spread to 60 countries and is now on every continent except Antarctica.
Up until now, China is considered the epicenter of this epidemic. Therefore, all else being equal, trends and disruption in several industries in China could serve as an example for the rest of the world.
In the midst of this epidemic, several opportunities are rising in specific industries and many of the companies in these industries are experiencing growth like never before. However, a lot of us are still divided over whether this surge in different industries is temporary or whether it will lead to more sustainable and longer-term adoption of behavior.
Below are five interconnected industries that are enjoying positive change like never before:
1) LOHAS & Wellness
In the face of the epidemic, it has been proven that immunity is the biggest weapon, one’s greatest competitiveness. Under this background, alongside the clear statements of staying clear from crowded places, home exercises and the fitness equipment industry are leading the way. Keep, a Chinese fitness app that offers workout programs ranging from yoga to cycling, saw its ranking in the country’s iOS App Store shoot up from 260th in terms of downloads on the Apple App Store in mid-January, to 79th in early February. Live broadcasts of fitness classes have surged 513% on online sports platform PP Sport since the company launched its courses in late January. Sales of indoor fitness equipment have also received a boost, data from JD.com showed that during the epidemic outbreak, sales of skipping ropes rose 56%, dumbbells 60% and yoga mats soared 150%.
As the Coronavirus is being spread on a global scale, worry and panic are on the rise. People who have a lot of background anxiety (myself included), are not easily reassured. Therefore, it is no surprise that since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, millions of Chinese people who are worried that they have been infected with the virus turned to online medical platforms to seek consultation. It should be noted that during the epidemic, newly Chinese registered users on these online medical platforms grew almost 10 times, with an average daily consultation of about 9 times as many as normal users.
2) Grocery Delivery with a Twist
The Coronavirus is believed to have originated in a food market, the disease will continue to create opportunities and pitfalls for food delivery companies. According to SenseTower, Mobile ordering and customer loyalty apps tied to on-premise eating/drinking establishments have experienced significant declines. On the other hand, Grocery delivery and recipe apps outperformed after China’s government told the public to stay home as part of the most sweeping anti-disease controls ever imposed. For instance, downloads for Alibaba’s grocery delivery app ‘Fresh Hema’ peaked on February 8th, reaching nearly 100,000 downloads in a single day, compared to an average of approximately 29,000 per day during 2019.
For obvious reasons, people are turning to contactless delivery service. According to Meituan, a major food delivery company in China, which has 5.9 million partner retailers and 700,000 daily active couriers, more than 80% of all orders made between January 26 and February 8 requested the contactless delivery service. That involves secure drop off and pickup locations to avoid putting delivery workers and customers in direct physical contact. As a ripple effect of this trend , the American Food delivery platform Postmates started what the company is calling a “non-contact delivery” initiative, a new drop-off option, designed to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus when its contract workers are delivering ordered meals and other goods.
3) Online Education
During this outbreak, many people have become accustomed to studying at home, EdTech companies found an opportunity here and worldwide traditional learning / training institutions are trying to adapt and accelerate their transformation to online teaching. The online education sector in China is experiencing a boom as schools nationwide are suspended, according to data from research firm Sensor Tower.
The biggest winner appears to be TAL Education’s Zhang Bangxin, who saw his wealth increase by $1.7 billion, giving him a current net worth of at least $10 billion. Zhang has surpassed the likes of JD.com’s founder Richard Liu ($8.7 billion) and Baidu’s Robin Li ($7.1 billion) to reach №24 on China’s wealth rankings. TAL has partnered with more than 300 public schools across China to stream free classes, and its providing complementary K-12 online tutoring sessions. Other education companies are also launching more e-learning courses, while developing data tools to analyze student performance and help teachers track their progress. As the virus continues its outbreak in several countries and as more universities and schools have moved online in the wake of the Coronavirus, this trend might be a natural marketing campaign for the EdTech companies.
4) Remote Work
China’s enterprise software industry has been slow to take off in comparison to the U.S and Europe. Nowadays, enterprise software industry is picking up faster than ever before as remote work apps are witnessing a boom as millions are confined to working from home. Downloads of indigenous work apps like Alibaba’s DingTalk, Tencent’s WeChat Work, ByteDance’s Lark, as well as America’s Zoom, jumped exponentially amid the health crisis. App rankings by Sensor Tower show that all three Chinese apps experienced significant growth in downloads from January 22, 2020 through February 20,2020 as compared to the same period last year. DingTalk: 1,446%, Lark: 6,085%, WeChat Work: 572%. Similarly, Tencent’s business-focused meeting app, Tencent Meeting, went from 250,000 all-time downloads to more than 5 million since the start of the outbreak.
5) Entertainment (Gaming & non-Gaming)
Despite the fact that mobile gaming has this ‘demanding’ correlation between the app stickiness and success. The mobile gaming industry in china has been experiencing an explosion in terms of downloads and stickiness. China recorded 222 million downloads of various games and apps from Apple’s App Store since February 2nd, according to app analytics firm App Annie. That was 40% more than the average weekly downloads in 2019. While the Coronavirus indeed has caused cancellations of eSports tournaments throughout China, streaming platforms benefited greatly from this outbreak. China’s popular streaming platform, Douyu, saw games like “Honor of Kings,” “Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds” and “League of Legends” to be twice as popular as they were during the same period in 2019, according to the platform’s streaming index. “Honor of Kings” and “PUBG” are top games right now in China.
When it comes to non-gaming entertainment apps in china, these apps became sources of not only entertainment but also most recent information about the outbreak, covering the outbreak developments and attracting millions of followers.