When Covid-19 struck, the global economy took a big nosedive. UK businesses also took a massive hit. But amidst the crisis, some industries managed to find a stronghold.
Many industries including healthcare and technology found unique ways to exploit and flourish. We have listed a few of the UK businesses that thrived during the pandemic and beyond.
With the gyms closed during the lockdowns, people took to home fitness with zeal. Fitness equipment sales spiked as a result. As per GlobalData research, half of the consumers in the UK bought home workout equipment. The study reveals that 75% of them want to continue working out at home even after the pandemic.
The trend has increased the sales of fitness products. Items like equipment, clothing, and more increased in demand. Some of the reasons cited by users are
- Increased concern about improving fitness
- Consumers wanted to spend their quarantine time productively
- More free time due to the lockdowns
Sales of home fitness machines like treadmills and ellipticals increased. UK stores show a marked rise in the purchase of home gym equipment.
The frequent lockdowns forced people to stay at home. They took to home repairs that they had neglected earlier. Plenty of free time led people to take up DIY work like painting, gardening, and more.
The home renovation sector saw the biggest spike. Home extensions remain popular as they add more space and value.
Kitchen renovation is another project that Brits showed priority. Cities like Liverpool and Crewe saw a big demand for kitchen improvements. Replacing an old sink with a modern black kitchen sink gives the kitchen a refreshing look. It adds functionality and value to the kitchen.
Painting, cabinet replacements, and new taps are other popular additions. Softer, green, and earthy tones are the trend in colours now. Textured worksurfaces and large-scale patterns are also trending.
Small Grocery Stores
During the pandemic, smaller grocery stores saw an increase in business. The shortage of products online and in the bigger supermarket chains forced shoppers to turn to independent grocers. Brits who ignore such stores normally preferred using them during the lockdown.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of supporting sustainable and organic farming. Such local systems have fewer grower-to-consumer distances. They offer transparency in the supply chain. The wages are fair when compared to the industrial-scale agriculture promoted by supermarkets.
Social media has helped local stores and farmer’s markets reach out to customers. Online food shopping and home delivery became a mainstay for most businesses.
One of the industries that withstood the economic slowdown brought on by the pandemic is the real estate sector. With many people forced to work from home, the need for larger spaces gained importance.
People started to look for bigger properties with more outdoor space. As per mortgage lender, Halifax, property prices soared in 2020 with the average cost of a home reaching as high as £250,000.
The change in the trend is set to continue despite the uncertain economy in 2022. As per EY ITEM Club prediction, the average price of a home will reach £283,000 in 2022 and £291,000 by 2024.
Despite the limited incomes and a market correction in the cards, house rates will not see much change. Experts cite fixed-rate mortgages and changes in lending methods for the present trend. Homeowners face less pressure to sell when the costs of borrowing increase. This causes further restrictions on the housing supply.
Government schemes also contribute to the growth of the property sector. The furlough scheme and changes in the stamp duty threshold are a few of such schemes.
IT And Digital Services
The growth of the IT sector does not come as a big surprise. Digital services have seen a remarkable increase with the prevalence of remote schooling and work-from-home changes. Many companies are thinking of continuing the hybrid work concept beyond the pandemic.
Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing division of Amazon saw a profit of $6.3billion in the third quarter of 2020. Facebook and Apple have also posted record-breaking revenues during the pandemic.
In the UK, despite Brexit and an unstable economy, the IT sector showed resilience. The tech sector raised the biggest venture capital funding next only to the US and China. Investments in Quantum computing, blockchain, and AI saw a bit spike. A 66% increase in the use of technology by people for communication, remote working, and schooling was seen during the pandemic.
Our list of thriving UK industries during the pandemic and beyond show promise in challenging circumstances. As the UK and the world head towards recovery, these industries ensure the economy is not completely derailed.
Such sectors have ensured employment and economic growth continue although at a slower pace. The changes in the outlook of people due to the pandemic will also nurture a more productive, sustainable, and resilient economy.