Mapping out the societal & economic consequences of COVID-19: A 5-month update
Sometimes it’s hard to grasp just how long we’ve been in quarantine (my family left Los Angeles in March), and it’s interesting to think about what our world is going to look like in one year, three years, and five years down the line.
Earlier this year, we came together as a firm and published predictions about Covid-19’s impact on various industries including Education, Retail & Commerce, Family & Society, Events & Entertainment, Gaming, Tourism & Real Estate, Politics & Leadership, and Work. It almost feels like a lifetime ago that we wrote this.
Now as we enter into November, we want to take a look and see just how accurate or inaccurate our forecasts, as well as community submitted forecasts, are.
Below in the chart, we’ve mapped out the top forecasts under each category and gave it a Green for Accurate, Orange for Mostly Accurate, and Red for Inaccurate. Additionally, there are so many new developments and trends influenced by Covid that we’d like to add some additional predictions and see how they develop over time.
Post Pandemic Impact on Retail & Brands & Commerce
In our original post, we said if retail real estate holders want to attract new breeds of businesses that will in turn attract the GenZ consumer, we need a much faster way to onboard retail offerings that don’t involve 6-month lease negotiations with 5-year leases. As in-store retail suffers, we’re looking to see how landlords and storefront owners reevaluate how they work with tenants and businesses in the future. We sadly still see many of them closed and empty.
Post Pandemic Impact on Family & Society
I can’t comment on other families besides my own, but I’m sure we’ve all experienced a paradigm shift as kids and parents stay home full time. This begs the question — what about unhealthy home relationships and people who live alone? How are they dealing with these external forces? How does not going out regularly change your consumption patterns, your use of different substances, your friendships?
All this said, we’ll witness more kindness and global connectivity. Family situations can end up on polar opposite sides of the spectrum — they’ll either come out stronger or weaker — while single people may choose more social living environments due to loneliness following the pandemic.
Post Pandemic Impact on Events & Entertainment
Concerts, theatre, church, festivals — space will be considered a premium and important for safety.
While we don’t know how long this will last, live events and large social gatherings won’t be the same for a while. As movie studios delay big releases while others bring them to on-demand (such as Disney’s Mulan), entertainment is taking a big hit. Regal Cinema, the second largest film exhibitor in the U.S., announced recently that it’s shuttering 536 locations. The rise of more on-demand might be the final blow to movie theaters.
Post Pandemic Impact on Tourism & Real Estate
The pandemic has proved a reemergence of road trip culture and a re-discovery of our national parks. According to MarketWatch, nearly 1 in 3 Americans planned to take a road trip this summer.
Post Pandemic Impact on Politics & Leadership & Military
Certain leaders are great from the get-go while others require extreme situations to prove themselves as exceptional. Local cities and states are stepping up with their own rules to control the impact to their populations, and new voices are rising from unexpected places to guide our society through this journey. Because of COVID, new leaders will arise during this time of strife; crisis planning is real and needs to be accounted for.
Post Pandemic Impact on Work
We predicted that working from home will likely become the standard for many Americans, and so far that has remained true. Many companies have WFH guidelines in place until July 2021, and then we surmise they’ll have to reconsider what that means for the permanent future of their companies and office real estate. Employers who were a bit more conservative in their remote work policies before the pandemic may have had a change of heart; they’ve become more accustomed to virtual meetings and see that their employees’ output remains the same. We’re keeping an eye out on the airline industry, but business travel will likely never return as companies will likely stop paying for travel.
Post Pandemic Impact on Education
We predicted that certain families will choose not to send their children back to school for a variety of reasons. This, in turn, will drive schools to have fewer students, thus lowering budgets and pushing down an already stressed educational system. We’re still waiting to see how this first quarter goes with more remote learning. Policymakers are still struggling to create guidelines for confused families, and while some schools are opening, others remain closed. We still believe that the impact here may result in alternative schooling systems or students permanently dropping out of the education system, but we’re curious to see how this develops in the new year.
Post Pandemic Prediction on the Rise of Secondary Cities
The moment offices shut down and a big subset of the population didn’t have to commute to work, people had a lot more time on their hands. This new information and, in a way, freedom, allowed employees to look at how they wanted to better spend their time and how they wanted to more authentically live their lives, including the cities they lived in. This opened up a lot of opportunities for moves across the country.
For example, families who lived in New York might now place a premium on outdoor space or a bigger home, opting to move to a smaller, less expensive city like Charlotte, NC, San Antonio, TX or Memphis, TN. Do you enjoy skiing yet feel like you don’t get to do it as much as you’d like? Now you can move to Aspen, CO. These opportunities are endless, and we don’t foresee people moving back once the pandemic has settled.
Post Pandemic Prediction on Child Care
Ahead of the general election, the polls are finding many people are viewing child care as vital to the reopening of the economy (80% of Los Angeles voters view child care as important to recovery). This was always a parental issue, but has now become a societal issue and will remain a priority post pandemic. We believe there will be more focus and policymaking to create a better social infrastructure for vulnerable communities especially when it comes to the intersection of health and economy.
What are your predictions? Comment — we’d love to hear your thoughts.