I hope that the coronavirus situation is certainly not going to change the world forever, but it is going to change quite a few things, in some cases, the change might be forever. Below I have predicted 3 of those changes in retail, food and real estate industry.
- In urban areas, online shopping was already slowly killing retail shops. The lockdown/self-quarantine will force people who rarely or never shop online to do it all the time. Once customers get used to shopping online, most of them won’t go back, so retail jobs will be disappearing twice as fast. And now lots of businesses are coming to the retail delivery business, Priyoshop, an e-commerce platform that starts delivering daily necessity goods and healthcare products. Pathao has also introduced grocery and medicine delivery. A couple of days back I run a poll in my wife’s e-commerce Facebook group (which has 40K+ members) where I found that around 38% of people (around 500 people participated the survey) start buying groceries online during this lockdown period.
- For restaurants, it will be more take-aways and home deliveries, fewer people on seats. Habits will change, and a lot of people won’t come back afterward. Food sold out the door generates much less cash flow than food served at the table, and half of the waiters’ jobs are gone. There will be a severe cull of restaurants and the rise of the ghost kitchen. In Thailand, the food delivery industry has been riding a wave since last year. KResearch (a division of Kasikorn Bank) reported the food delivery business in 2019 was worth 33-35 billion baht, up 14% from the previous year. Most delivery operators interviewed by the Bangkok Post say their work has increased at least 100% since the COVID-19 executive decree came into effect on March 26 which bans sit-in dining but allows restaurants to sell takeaway food.
- Once it becomes clear that remote working actually works for most jobs, it will start to seem normal for people not to go in to work most days. So a steep drop in commuting, lower greenhouse-gas emissions, and eventually a lot of empty office space in city centers. Read an article in Forbes that nearly three out of four finance leaders surveyed earlier this week by Gartner, a research and advisory firm, said they plan to move at least 5% of their workforce that had previously reported to an office to a full-time, remote schedule.
Let me know what’s your thought on these changes that I anticipated.