A Permanent Digital Transformation in the Post-Pandemic World?

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The post-pandemic world has illustrated that society can quickly snap back to old habits.

The Rise of Digital

Whilst most economies struggled during the pandemic, with small businesses being hit the hardest, it was not all doom and gloom for some industries.

As lockdowns became the new normal, businesses and consumers were forced to ‘go digital’.

Streaming services such as Netflix boomed. The use of food delivery apps such as Uber Eats more than doubled. Gym classes became ‘virtual’ through various subscription options.

Gone were the days of having in-person business meetings, clearly illustrated by the growth of Zoom during this period. The unprecedented and unforeseen growth in the eCommerce sector and courier industry rippled across the globe at an alarming rate.

Old Habits die Hard

Many experts predicted that this digital transformation was permanent and here to stay. However, as we all adjust back into a mostly post-pandemic world, the latest results from many of these COVID-19 ‘Boomers’ demonstrate that the experts may have got it wrong.

Netflix stocks plummeted this week, falling over 25%, becoming one of the biggest post-pandemic casualties on the stock market. Shares in Peloton have fallen by 87%. Shares in Zoom plummeted a further 10% this week; sinking 82% since its peak. Shares in Just Eat have fallen 70% in the last 12 months.

Perhaps this should be seen as a reassertion of stock market sanity, with the majority of businesses and consumers happily settling back into their pre-pandemic lives. We are, after all, creatures of habit.

The Future of eCommerce

Whilst companies such as Netflix and Zoom may well be licking their wounds, the eCommerce world appears to be headed on a different trajectory, especially within South Africa.

The value of eCommerce transactions in South Africa is expected to surge by 150% to R225bn by 2025. This growth is due in part to the marked shift in consumer behaviour during the pandemic.

Unlike the COVID-19 ‘Boomers’ such as Netflix and Zoom, who arguably achieved unsustainable and unrealistic growth, the eCommerce world was already seeing a rapid growth prior to the implementation of the first lockdowns.

The pandemic has merely acted as a catalyst for this growth, bringing forward a likely inevitable outcome.

Naturally in the post-pandemic world, eCommerce growth is slowing or rather, stabilising, but is still predicted to continue being one of the fastest-growing sectors within South Africa over the next 3 years. The shift to online consumption appears to be here to stay.

RMB estimates there are now currently 5,000 businesses online in South Africa with a turnover of R100k or more, and experts predict it is these SME marketplace sellers who will continue to grow and dominate the marketplace over the coming years.

Geddes Capital’s inventory finance partner, Retail RockIT, is here to help. Not only can we assist with your cash flow and inventory needs, but we can offer a multi-layered service to ensure your business fully optimises the vast opportunities for growth over the coming years.

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