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New Businesses That Will Emerge After COVID-19

COVID-19 will change the world. Andrew Markou looks at five business sectors that will expand significantly or emerge as new industries, after the Coronavirus crisis has passed.

Private Home Schooling

The private school sector accounts for around 7% in the UK. In the USA, the number of children educated privately is nearer 10%. Private education is prohibitively expensive. But not for much longer.

Most children on the planet have had to instantly adjust to a home schooling routine. UNESCO estimates that over 1.5 billion children (that is around 87% of the Earth’s student population) are being home schooled right now and millions of parents globally are now embracing home schooling.


But post-COVID, where can parents go to get the support to continue a home school education? Expect a new industry to be born – private home schooling. Private school fees, in the UK, can cost anything between £10k and £20k per year.

But with the ability to deliver classes remotely, and perhaps with only two out of five days needed to be on campus to do sport and socialise, expect a radical new private education explosion that will deliver a paid-for education for half, or even a third, of the current prices.

At the moment, the sector simply doesn’t exist. At best, you may find private tutors to support your home schooling programme.

But an entire school, with departments and a curriculum that is part time on campus, and delivered part time at home, will revolutionise private education and make it affordable and accessible to millions more, as it will be cheaper for these schools to set up and will fit in with people’s changing lifestyles. The technology infrastructure is now in place to create this new industry, the legislation is sure to follow.  

Video Conferencing

From family quiz nights to political summits, it’s not just offices and schools that have turned to video conferencing, but entire demographics - from church congregations and families scattered across continents, to world leaders looking to strike a deal.

Once the lockdown is lifted, people will continue to use video conferencing as part of their work, social and spiritual routines. It will become an imbedded part of daily life, rather than an exception.

This will also fit into our evolving climate change needs as we question how essential any journey outside the house actually is. It’s not unrealistic to imagine the next G8 Summit of world leaders to take place on Zoom – certainly, the next climate change summit will have to go this way, given the severe criticism around the carbon cost of travel at the last one.

Can’t get to see the house you’re looking to buy? Then realtors and estate agents will show you and a dozen other prospective buyers around the property at the same time and take questions.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams are the COVID market leaders. But WhatsApp will follow and Facebook will enhance its existing video conferencing tools. New entrants will emerge that will offer business sector specific functionality. Last week, in the middle of the pandemic, Verizon bought Zoom competitor Blue Jeans. Video Conferencing will be a way of life.

New Commercial Offices

Now that we have all adapted to working from home, expensive offices with long leases will become a “Pre-COVID” way of working. In other words, the traditional office is “history”. Entire businesses are now being run remotely and with it comes the realisation that huge savings can be made on rent, rate, utilities and travel.

American Express was one company that moved quickly as the pandemic broke, equipping all 60,000 employees with the ability to work from home. “In two weeks, we have completely transformed our global servicing operations, going from a brick-and-mortar, traditional call-centre environment to a totally distributed, home-based servicing one,” said AmEx CEO Steve Squeri in a video message to all employees, that he shot on his iPhone at the outbreak of the crisis.

The savings for businesses around the world – both large and small – will be considerable. But it also means big changes - change in how office locations for businesses will be used – from hotdesking to communal meeting spaces, for when employees “come into campus” for socialising and much needed contact purposes.

This will also open up new opportunities in how office spaces are designed and how remote working systems for business and software is integrated, again creating new industries and expanding existing ones, as more companies adopt cloud-based solutions for running their operations from homes.  

Keeping Fit At Home

Before the crisis hit, a series of memes for the home-based keep-fit system Peloton was doing the rounds on social media. This was a result of a sudden dramatic increase in usage – as the spin cycle class, utilising a Peloton bicycle that you ride in your home, whilst connecting to an instructor led class via the internet – saw subscriptions rise to nearly 1.5m users and become a household name.

In the UK, as schools were being shut down, Youtube keep fit instructor Joe Wicks got 1.2 million new subscribers to his channel in a matter of days and by mid-April his videos, that encourage viewers to keep fit at home, had received over 130 million views.

Joe Wicks

One of the big shifts out of the crisis will be this continued move from the gym into the home – on a subscription basis. Gyms will wise up to this emerging trend and will offer more remote, virtual classes – from pilates and yoga to intense physical workouts.

New virtual gymnasiums, sport centres and well-being spas will emerge and offer an entire range of live broadcast, instructor-led, keep fit and wellbeing services for the home.  

Online Private Healthcare  

The stress upon health systems around the planet has exposed just how vulnerable a globalised society can be to a pandemic. Even when the restrictions on travel have been lifted, the new emerging relationship to travel and defining what is essential– especially in a carbon sensitive world – will result in more diagnostic services moving into a virtual landscape.

There is already a vast range of online healthcare services – especially in the US,  like SteadyMD and Sherpaa but expect telemedicine to become part of our daily life, rather than a niche “go to” service.


In China, during the pandemic, online medical services like Tencent HealthCare and AliHealth helped alleviate pressure on health services, by providing a free diagnosis for those who were struggling to tell the difference between a cold and COVID-19. Again, it’s about the shift in the mindset of society, as a result of COVID-19, that will see greater adoption of these services and new entrants into the marketplace.

And beyond physical health, there will also be a move towards mental health services going virtual too – from 12-step programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous (which had to move all their meetings to Zoom and had to find ways of stopping and blocking cyber trolls during the pandemic) to one-to-one therapeutic counselling services.

Both of which saw a greater spike in interest, specifically as result of the mental pressures that resulted from the lockdown and its restrictions.

Telemedicine will also be adopted by health care systems around the world, again as organisations make the most of IT and cloud-based software advances and governments find solutions in reducing waiting times, whilst taking pressure off their health emergency operations.

Andrew Markou

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