Four Predictions for a Publish-Pandemic World in 2021 and Past
When photos of health care workers with their CidOVID-19 vaccination cards began circulating on social media, many breathed a sigh of relief. The start of the new year with a vaccine has made many optimistic, but the post-pandemic world will not be what it was before.
Even if vaccines are widely used, many people will continue to want to work, shop, and study online. Zoom, Shipt, and Grubhub existed before the pandemic, but now that more people have experienced the benefits of these services, businesses will see permanent shifts in consumer behavior. This brave new world will create a multitude of new opportunities and challenges.
1. Fraudsters will benefit from the move to digital
According to the FTC, a Covid-related scam that started on social media cost consumers $ 117 million in the first six months of 2020 alone. With so many companies trying to get their offerings online during the pandemic, numerous new vulnerabilities were created that criminals could exploit. The volume of fraud is expected to increase in 2021 and fraudsters are getting more creative.
In its forecast of the future of fraud in 2021, Experian predicted that this year’s fraud cases will range from standard fraud programs to compelling deepfakes. “Frankenstein IDs” are a terrifying new way of bypassing facial recognition technology, where fraudsters stitch facial features together to create a whole new identity.
In response, the company has launched a number of business fraud prevention solutions. Its tools saved customers $ 10 billion in fraud losses last year.
2. Many will choose to stay away
Along with trying to digitize everything, 2020 also forced the largest mass exodus from offices and schools the world has ever seen. While many have already returned to work, companies like Facebook, Google, and Zillow have announced that they are preparing for permanent remote work.
Much to the convenience of parents, the virtual school won’t be permanent – at least not for young children. However, many high schools and universities plan to keep students away for the spring semester.
Even if the vaccine is widely used, the trend towards distance learning could continue into 2022 and beyond. According to a recent report, more than 50 percent of college students prefer online courses because of their flexibility. This could lead to a surge in students signing up for hybrid or fully online programs.
3. Digital-based businesses will thrive
Despite gloomy economic prospects, not every industry was in decline this year. Video games have seen a huge increase in adoption and use. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford predicts a massive surge in mobile gaming, and the maker of Borderlands 3 has taken aggressive hiring to expand its efforts.
While small yoga studios and gyms have closed their doors, the online fitness industry is booming. In the fitness app Daily Burn, the number of members increased by 268 percent compared to the previous year. Peloton’s shares rose more than 400 percent, and the company plans to add 100 million subscribers to its fitness platform.
Mobile gaming, interactive fitness, streaming TV, and telemedicine are just a few of the digital businesses that will continue to thrive in 2021 and beyond.
4. Remote work creates new hub cities
With so many people working remotely now, businesses will be relocating to midsize cities for cost savings and financial incentives. Oracle recently announced that it is moving its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas. Cost savings moved IMB and Apple to Raleigh, North Carolina. And many financial service providers are moving to cities like Charlotte and Miami.
After the pandemic, people will happily take advantage of the big city amenities like nightlife and entertainment, but they also want to get more for their dollar. During the pandemic, there was an increase in people buying larger homes to live up to the WFH’s life. And if remote work continues, workers can live anywhere.
Tulsa and the entire state of Vermont have provided financial incentives for people to work from there. Cities like Birmingham and Kansas City are well positioned to become the newest midsize hubs. Nearby airports, large universities to attract new talent, and the low cost of living make them ideal for companies looking to relocate.
No one can say for sure what 2021 will bring, but it will likely look very different than 2019. Some pandemic trends persist, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This could mean more opportunities for companies and more freedom for workers.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.