The virus lockdown had positive and negative effects on the overall economy and online consumer behavior. Since the virus spread to infect the world, billions of individuals have had to adapt, for better or worse. The result has been a massively transformed way of doing things, especially when it comes to online buying, selling, and investing. There’s an important distinction in that it wasn’t the virus that caused all these changes, displaced thousands of workers, pushed up unemployment numbers, and generally screwed up global industries since March of 2020. It was the lockdown. And, the lockdown has been a double-edged sword. Here are seven ways that restricted personal freedoms have caused people to spend money differently, invest differently, and generally adapt to the fact that they’re not as free to come and go as they used to be.
Golden Age of Online Investing and Trading
Perhaps the single most positive result of restricted personal freedom is a new golden age of online trading and investing. With millions of working adults stuck at home, online brokerages have experienced an upsurge in customers. Many are attempting to use their at-home time to make extra money on the side. Others are turning to full-time trading as a way to replace lost work hours from their former jobs. The savvy brokers have been wooing new customers with easy account setup, free advisor services, risk-limiting apps, and all kinds of enhanced customer service goodies. For their part, new investors are finding stock, bond, forex, and other markets a good place to earn long-term and short-term profits.
If you write or sell gaming apps, or hold stock in companies that sell online games and platforms, the lockdown has been a very good thing for you. Additionally, it will likely continue being a financial windfall because at-home gaming is one of the fastest growing parts of the recreation sector. What better way to pass the time while confined to your house. In fact, gaming apps, chat rooms, strategy forums, and video conferencing social groups have been springing up all over the internet. It’s almost as if a new culture has been created.
Film Production Slump
One of the big losers in the virus era is the film production industry. Hollywood in particular has witnessed a drop in business like no time in its history. The silver lining to that otherwise dark cloud is that films are not even close to being an essential piece of the economy. Plus, compared to the auto, healthcare, tech, and other industries, filmmaking is low on the list of how many it employs.
Surge in Streaming Services
What happens when you can’t go to the movies because the government won’t let them go past their front yards? Consumers started to load up on streaming memberships, piling up film download credits, and cramming pantries with popcorn. Streaming services large and small have reported massive increases in membership numbers.
One of the more subtle changes to come out of the virus era has been the boom in all types of e-commerce. Even companies that operate both brick and mortar and online stores have been seeing higher profits. As individuals become more comfortable making online purchases, every e-commerce merchant wins. Adding to the upswing in e-commerce usage by consumers is the fact that more sellers are making their shopping carts user-friendly. So, the synergy of simple payment methods and being trapped at home means that e-merchants are among the big winners of the virus debacle.
Once a rarity, food delivery is now part of the new normal for millions of home-entrenched citizens all over the world. Of course, delivery services are booming, but so are grocery chains and other retailers who adapted quickly to the virus restrictions. Most of the big box stores were fast to offer curbside delivery for frightened buyers who didn’t want to enter stores. Adding an extra layer to contactless service, these same merchants also worked with delivery companies to offer low-cost store to door options for those who refused to venture outside their living rooms.
Computer Apps, Peripherals, and Hardware
When you spend 10 hours per day, seven days a week in front of a computer monitor, you quickly discover that you need things like new printers, device chargers, larger screens, better headphones, high-quality speakers, and other peripherals. Many people are finding that they can deduct the cost of a new computer from their taxable income if they use it exclusively for a home-based job.