Covid’s ‘reset’ button has altered business and customer trends

Thursday January 27 2022
Home deliveries

The Covid-19 pandemic is revealing some unexpected traits in customers. Home deliveries, for example, have peaked. PHOTO | FILE


Today we have a generation that gets upset when they post something on social media and it doesn’t get enough likes and follows. We are dealing with a sensitive generation that needs to “feel’’ something before they go for it.

There are a whole lot of other dynamics that will shape future customer behaviour and some have already emerged, having been triggered by Covid-19.

For instance, luxury car maker Rolls Royce has been manufacturing and selling cars to the super rich for the past 117 years but in 2021 it sold the highest number of cars in the history of the company. Reason? According to the company's CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, many people realised how fleeting life was as they saw people they know die of Covid-19 and there was no point in delaying the things on their bucket list. The average age of the Rolls Royce customer is now 43.

As a result of Covid restrictions, people also accumulated money since there was no travel to expensive vacations or impulse buying of luxury items. All these factors accumulated to deliver a great year for Rolls Royce.

Another industry that has experienced a boom globally due to Covid-19, is the life insurance industry. The fear of dying early has driven up sales. Some countries have experienced double digit leaps as the demographics got younger. Google received an increase of over 50 percent searches for life insurance.

Since the pandemic forced the mass shutdown of restaurants, there was o a spike in home food deliveries, but one of the unintended consequences of this is that more people decided to learn how to cook. Food vloggers exploded on YouTube, attracting millions of subscribers and views and raking in millions of dollars.


New normal

This led to another interesting development: New platforms for advertisers. This was such a welcome development because a lot of traditional advertising platforms were no longer serving the needs of advertisers.

The beauty of the pandemic era is that one thing leads to another and it becomes a chain reaction, creating change in the way business is conducted.

The World Health Organisation chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said on January 18 that the pandemic is nowhere near over. What are the implications?

The longer pandemic behaviours stay the greater the chances they will become the new normal. Businesses built on pre-pandemic behaviour will be treading on risky ground if they do not adjust their core and strategy. Some are still holding on, hoping things will go back to normal. Well, this is the new normal and those who do not adjust will be victims of their own rigidity.

Africa can use this opportunity to leapfrog into the future. The pandemic was akin to a reset button for the whole world. No other time in recent history can we remember the entire world shut down and commerce brought to its knees. It will be sad if after coming out of this pandemic reset, we still have the same problems that existed before.

Wale Akinyemi is convenor of the Street University ( and chief transformation officer, Power Talks; [email protected]