By Adrian Tan
It was only a few months ago that we were living our ‘normal’ everyday lives. While the prospect of a pandemic has always been possible, few would have predicted the exact impact that the coronavirus has had on our society and the economy. Even today, it is hard to predict where we are headed and what’s to come in such a crisis.
This is often the case for trends, as they follow a path of uncertainty and constant change. As time ticks by, we learn to adapt to change and what was considered as ‘strange’ evolves into the mainstream. As we continue on with our changing lifestyles, we find different ways to address our human needs - whether it be by learning a new skill, connecting with others online or working and studying from home.
While these changes may seem daunting or even threatening to some, others have viewed this moment in time as an opportunity. Here are some trends that have recently emerged due to current circumstances:
Increased number of users in the entertainment industry
One of the more prevalent trends to emerge during this crisis has been the increased use of online entertainment services. In efforts to reduce isolation boredom, many households have renewed or upgraded their subscriptions to many popular online streaming services.
During the first financial quarter, Netflix added 15.77 million paid subscribers globally. Along with this, the company even had to throttle streaming speeds across Europe in response to the government’s concerns about the overuse of broadband systems. While many streaming services have benefitted from this short-term increase in demand, the question lies in whether or not they can sustain such performance. Similar companies will have to review their current business models in order to remain competitive within the entertainment industry.
While many become bogged down by the negative impacts of the coronavirus, other organisations view this current situation as an opportunity. In saying this, many companies are seen to adapt to the changing needs of consumers. During self-isolation, humans often find themselves urging to connect with others.
This is exactly what many companies in the gaming industry have observed and consequently capitalised on. As a matter of fact, the gaming industry created the hashtag: #PlayApartTogether as a means of promoting the World Health Organisation’s social distancing efforts against the virus.
More noticeable to markets has been the release of Nintendo’s ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ which sold over 11 million copies worldwide 11 days after its release. The game provides users with a sense of control which is exactly what is needed in such a crisis. Nintendo’s prolonged and recession-proof success is evident in its ability to seize opportunity while also addressing the market’s needs. This is just one example of many which demonstrates the ability for companies to seize an opportunity in rising trends.
An increased amount of self-improving and upskilling
After feeling the guilt of binging Netflix and playing Animal Crossing, many have felt the need to be productive. Some have picked up a new hobby while others have sought for new skills. A key trend to all of this has been the growth in online learning which has aided the transition for many educational institutions. There are already a number of online education platforms enticing users with free trials and temporary premium memberships in order to remain competitive.
In the last decade, there has been an increasing trend for the rise of ‘e-learning’, with the online education market predicted to reach USD $350 Billion by 2025,with websites such Skillshare, Lynda, Udemy and KhanAcademy spearheading industry growth. Companies that provide these services understand that rapid changes in the economy require employees to have relevant and up-to-date skills. Further promising are the benefits that e-learning can bring to companies and the classroom, suggesting that some changes may be here to stay.
From just these few trends and examples, it is clear that we live in a world of accelerated change. While it can be hard to make sense of it all, we can follow in the words of Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “The only thing that is constant is change.” When a crisis strikes the economy and sends us into lockdown, we still find ourselves seeking the need for fulfilment. Companies find new ways to address consumer needs, leading towards the rise of new emerging trends, creating an endless cycle.
Info.trendwatching.com. 2020. After The Virus: 10 Trends Radically Accelerated By The Crisis |Trendwatching. [online] Available at: <https://info.trendwatching.com/10-trends-for-a-post-coronavirus-world> [Accessed 16 May 2020].
Archer, J., 2020. Netflix Starts To Lift Its Coronavirus Streaming Restrictions. Forbes,[online] Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnarcher/2020/05/12/netflix-starts-to-lift-its-coronavirus-streaming-restrictions/#22ee08bc4738> [Accessed 16 May 2020].
Arndt, F., 2020. Netflix Has Capitalized On Social Isolation, But Will Its Success Continue In A Post-Coronavirus World?. [online] The Conversation. Available at: <https://theconversation.com/netflix-has-capitalized-on-social-isolation-but-will-its-success-continue-in-a-post-coronavirus-world-133414> [Accessed 16 May 2020].
Dring, C., 2020. What Is Happening With Video Game Sales During Coronavirus. [online]GamesIndustry.biz. Available at: <https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-03-28-what-is-happening-with-video-game-sales-during-coronavirus> [Accessed 16 May 2020].
Irwin, J., 2020. As the world weathers a pandemic, Nintendo may just be recession-proof. The Washington Post, [online] Available at: <https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/05/08/world-weathers-pandemic-nintendo-may-just-be-recession-proof/> [Accessed 16 May 2020].
Koksal, I., 2020. The Rise Of Online Learning. Forbes, [online] Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/ilkerkoksal/2020/05/02/the-rise-of-online-learning/#d9b099d72f3c> [Accessed 16 May 2020].
Rana, A. and Richwine, L., 2020. Netflix subscriber numbers jump in coronavirus lockdown. Sydney Morning Herald, [online] Available at: <https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/netflix-subscriber-numbers-jump-in-coronavirus-lockdown-20200422-p54m05.html> [Accessed 16 May 2020].
Renub Research, 2020. Online Education Market & Global Forecast, By End User, Learning Mode (Self-Paced, Instructor Led), Technology, Country, Company. Global.
Ross, S., 2020. Games Industry Unites To Promote World Health Organization Messages Against COVID-19;Launch #Playaparttogether Campaign. [online] Businesswire.com. Available at: <https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200328005018/en/Games-Industry-Unites-Promote-World-Health-Organization> [Accessed 16 May 2020].