While the pandemic is not over, neither in the United States nor around the world, in many ways, the American economy is heating up. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how all of us live to some extent, and the experience will have long-lasting impacts on the world even once the pandemic is behind us.
As with any monumental societal shift, new trends have begun and some older trends have been accelerated. If you are looking to open a new business, it is best to think about how it will exist in a post-coronavirus world instead of assuming the world of 2019 will suddenly return. Here are some sectors and industries that appear poised to offer new opportunities as the world emerges from this catastrophe. Many of these industries are fairly accessible for new entrepreneurs with a range of technical skills and access to capital.
Through the experiences of 2020, the world is putting a premium on cleanliness like never before. Custodial and janitorial services, particularly for the commercial sector, will remain an essential industry in the future—especially when it doesn’t look like the pandemic will end on a global scale for a long time.
“Office buildings, restaurants, and other public businesses still count on these service providers to continuously disinfect their spaces and keep employees and patrons safe,” explains Katarina Betterton of the US Chamber of Commerce. “As more businesses reopen to the public—including schools and universities—owners and building managers will continue to seek these cleaning services to stop the spread of germs and viruses and ensure their employees feel safe and protected.”
Even if another massive pandemic doesn’t happen in our lifetimes, the memory of COVID-19 will ensure cleaning services are considered necessary for many businesses to function.
While home delivery for everything ranging from take-out food to groceries to everything you can buy online has been trending upward for years, it became an essential part of many consumers’ lives in 2020. Although people are leaving the house more now, the rise of delivery services doesn’t look like it will slow down any time soon.
Apps like Uber Eats and Instacart have made entering the delivery sector accessible to anyone, and it is a type of business that’s readily scalable. There are also many niche markets to consider, like fresh produce delivery, medicine delivery, and pet supplies delivery.
When everyone was sheltering at home, there was an increased interest in self-care and holistic wellness—think essential oils, bath products, and other ways to pamper yourself. With hours of time on our hands, many people started new hobbies and artistic pursuits. Now, millions of Americans are socializing in person again, and they’re concerned about their appearance. The combination of these 3 factors means that businesses that sell DIY beauty products and services are filling a need.
While people will still go to the nail salon, more people know how to and enjoy painting their own nails now. Creating your own beauty products like aromatic oils and bath bombs seems like it will remain popular even after the pandemic. A variety of companies, like subscription box services, can leap onto these trends.
We all probably have a new respect for our homes like we never imagined before the pandemic hit, and the desire to improve and renovate our homes seems like it will linger even as we leave our dwellings more often. The home improvement sector—from supplies to design to labor—appears to be a secure sector for the foreseeable future. A superheated housing market is making anything home-related a hot commodity. Supply shocks to building materials, like lumber, have raised construction prices in 2021, but as the market calms, it seems more customers will be interested in taking on more projects.
When many schools and universities went completely online in 2020, a prophecy about the future of educational technology was fulfilled, but there were many, many bumps along with this transition. While most learners deeply desire to return to in-person learning, online learning is now widely understood and accepted by the mainstream. Companies interested in supporting this change and mitigating the issues that continue to arise will be important in the future. Even knowing some basic Canvas or Zoom skills will be valuable going forward.
The tourism sector was decimated by the pandemic, and whole industries, like theme parks and cruise ships, were shuttered for months. There appears to be quite an appetite for travel as the pandemic recedes. Paired with the turnover in this industry, now might be a good time to get into travel, hospitality, and tourism.
This is especially true on the domestic level, which consumers appear to be much more comfortable with at this point.
“One thing we are all looking forward to once the world becomes a safer place for our health is going back to traveling,” notes Elena Dimoska for European startup news outlet EU-Startups. “Even this fact alone speaks enough about the likeliness of the travel industry to be among the top sectors which will reshape the post-COVID era. And, as a matter of fact, some startups like GetYourGuide are already preparing for the tourism bounceback. The road to recovery will be tough though, and domestic destinations may be the first choice for many.”
It might be some time before international travel hits 2019 levels, but many Americans are open to travel within the US borders in the near term.
As the US lockdown caused most communication and interaction to go online in early 2020, the accessibility of many technologies came into question. Unfortunately, people with vision or hearing impairments were at a disadvantage when using the technologies we became so dependent on. As we’ll continue to depend on many of these technologies, making them more accessible will become critical through, for example, creating closed captioning for people with hearing impairments or alt text for those who use screen readers.