Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a paradigm shift towards digitization was already underway across the sectors. However, the pandemic has further accelerated the transformation, which is evident by the marked growth in spending towards digitization by businesses. Against this backdrop, companies with agile digital strategies will be able to reinvent their business models and stay relevant to customers in post-pandemic era, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Sudheshna Karukula, Senior Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Remote work, omnichannel commerce, contactless interactions and the consumption of digital content emerged as the key growth areas during the pandemic. This has shown the difference between the business models of digital leaders and laggards across industries, reiterating the trend – digitize or perish.”
An analysis of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Centre reveals how various companies, despite the negative impact of COVID-19, managed to sustain growth by going digital.
For instance, in retail e-commerce companies such as Amazon, Walmart and JD.com are clear winners due to a significant shift to online shopping, whereas those with large number of physical stores like H&M, IKEA and Home Depot are lagging behind.
Amazon started licensing its cashier-less technology ‘Just Walk Out’ to other retailers. The technology, which is an amalgamation of cameras, sensors, computer vision techniques and deep learning, allows retailers to automate purchase, check out and payments. Most of the retailers obtained the technology license to eliminate checkout lines and waiting times.
Pharma companies investing in AI and telemedicine such as BenevolentAI and Teladoc have a significant positive impact. BenevolentAI’s investments in AI for drug discovery and development have seen some success. It was able to narrow down potential candidates to six against COVID-19, where rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib stood the most promising and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
In banking, digitally advanced banks such as DBS and P2P lending startups like Lending Club, and money management firms like Yolt have witnessed moderate positive impact.
Yolt redesigned its app after noticing a shift in consumer financial habits enforced by the pandemic. It introduced online savings account and contactless card to help shoppers save on their purchases. Users can obtain cashback from partnered retailers, which is automatically converted into savings.
Sudheshna concludes: “With contactless-everything becoming the new normal, the COVID-19 pandemic can be a reality check for digital laggards. Companies can take digital cues from those thriving during the pandemic, even for cross-industry applications. The innovations and digital business models born out of the pandemic-induced necessity can help companies stay competitive even in the post-COVID-19 era.”