US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

Which Types of COVID-Related Trends Will Stick Around?

One of the questions we get around here all the time is this: which of the things we started doing because of the pandemic will we continue doing after the pandemic?

We believe that it falls into two basic steps

  1. It should be a worthwhile element of our new normal of hygiene and disease transmission awareness
  2. It should also have some additional benefit beyond pandemic protection

First, the “stickier” trends will form a functional part of our new normal of heightened awareness of hygiene and potential disease transmission. But what is the level of the new normal in the US and how much of what we’re doing will last in the longer run?

For a point of comparison, look at major security events like the attacks at the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995 and the 9-11 attacks in 2001. Immediately following both events, government and businesses made the sort of safety and security changes that were easy to do and could be implemented with little major building investments. Those major investments came later. However, after a time, some of the immediate fears and feeling of urgency ebbed so we slid back into activities and investment levels that were closer to what we had done before, but still at an elevated level of safety and security that represented a new normal level of investment.

We are likely to see the same curve in COVID-related investments and innovations. Activity will peak while the pandemic is live. Then it will ease as the pandemic recedes from our memory and day-to-day experience. However, we will continue to operate at a higher level of concern about hygiene and communicable disease transmission. This is similar to the experience of countries that have experienced pandemics in the modern era.

Second, stickier trends will have other benefits outside of the pandemic. These things will make our lives easier or will add convenience in some way. Examples of these types of trends include

  • Online Grocery Shopping & Food Delivery. Many people considered these services a luxury before the pandemic. However, many people tried it because of the pandemic and people found it easy to do and a convenience, so it has benefits beyond just making social distancing easier.
  • Touchless Technologies. Some things such as touchless faucets and motion-detecting light switches were already seeing adoption for water or electricity conservation and have the additional benefit of reducing high-touch surfaces. Others, such as foot taps to call an elevator or automatic entry systems that use a smart phone or other touch-free credential to open doors are also simply functional improvements on predecessor

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research. Freedonia also offers an expanding catalog of COVID-19 Economic Impact reports, which highlight how various industries are responding to the current crisis with a comparison to recent recessions. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.