No matter how people feel about the last 13 months, everyone can agree that our day-to-day lives have completely changed. From holidays to birthdays to working and shopping, everything changed out of pure necessity.
However, as more vaccinations roll out, many tasks will eventually return to normal when the pandemic passes. Some changes, though, may be permanent when everything is said and done. Scott O Hirsch, CEO, and founder of Media Direct, weighs in his thoughts on the matter. He predicts that 2020’s exponential growth of the digital landscape will likely continue, especially for eCommerce.
“Everything is online now and, looking ahead… it’s going to stay there,” Hirsch stated. He noted that several virtual trends saw an increase last year. “Here are the big four I think are going to remain hot, or get hotter, in 2021.”
4 Big Things Scott O Hirsch Predicts Will Get Hotter in 2021
Trend #1: DIY E-Commerce Platforms
Stores today have become online global vending machines, selling products on every continent except South America and Antarctica. The pandemic has expedited this growth. “We’ve all made so many purchases online since last spring,” says Scott Hirsch. “I know someone in New York who bought a foam surfboard from a distributor in Southern California on eBay and had it shipped to his apartment on the Upper West Side.”
Not all online stores are national corporations. Small business retailers using eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Facebook Shops, and Shopify have also experienced a rise in sales. Facebook Shops and Amazon Stores give entrepreneurs the brand name backing, while the Shopify platform helps create their online store brand from scratch.
Shopify saw remarkable strides in growth last year, according to its latest published Future of Commerce report. New store creation grew 71% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter. By quarter three, a record number of merchants were added to the platform. Shopify predicts that the trend will increase all the more in 2021.
According to Scott O Hirsch, these platforms will likely heat up in 2021 as the importance of contactless payments and non-contact pickup options increases.
Trend #2: Streaming Services
Recent box office delays and home movie releases are clear indicators that it will likely be a while for most of us to see the silver screen. Streaming services like HBO Max, AppleTV+, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu are undoubtedly here to stay even after the pandemic subsides. Scott Hirsch CEO is firm about this one.
“Need proof? Look no further than Warner Brothers’ recent deal with HBO Max: every single one of Warner Brothers’ 2021 movies will debut in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time,” he says. “What this means is one of Hollywood’s biggest studios is no longer banking on cinemas. We’re consuming content at home, and this will only increase.”
Trend #3: Working Remotely
Not long ago, remote work was considered a luxurious option, even an afterthought for many corporations. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly became a necessity. “While there’s little about the pandemic we can say was fortunate, I think we can agree we’re lucky it happened now when we have the technology that makes e-commerce, streaming, and working from home possible,” reflects Hirsch. “Imagine if COVID-19 had hit 10 or 15 years ago?”
Scott O Hirsch’s colleague and Forbes contributor Daniel Newman also agrees with this sobering reality. “Even as economies slowly reopen and employees are finally allowed to return to work, companies will continue to be tasked with protecting employees from possible outbreak resurgences,” states Newman. “Many big tech companies like Google and Facebook have extended their work from home policies through parts of 2021. Even smaller companies are keeping this newfound flexibility as an operational option.”
Trend #4: Telemedicine
Thanks to the virtual capabilities of telemedicine, many people were able to safely stay away from hospitals and doctors’ offices and receive treatment. Naturally, consumer adoption of telemedicine has grown exponentially. McKinsey & Company reports that patient use of telemedicine increased from 11% of U.S. consumers in 2019 to 46% today. Canceled healthcare visits are now rescheduled in telemedicine platforms. Medical providers see 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telemedicine than they did before the pandemic occurred.
Before 2020, the total annual revenue of U.S. telemedicine providers was estimated at $3B. But today, it’s quite possible that $250B of U.S. health care spending could end up on the virtual side. This opens a new opportunity not realized before. It’s another example of how permanent change from the pandemic could open the door for fresh entrepreneurial business ideas.
About Scott O Hirsch
Scott O Hirsch CEO is a globally renowned digital marketing, eCommerce, data, and analytics expert. Founder and CEO of Media Direct and former CMO at Seisint, Scott has helped pioneer some of the most utilized technology concepts today, including opt-in email. He provides expert consultation in affiliate marketing, DIY application development, E-appending, SEO, Google Ads, and Social Media Management.