Often it is said that a period of crisis or hardship can serve as a catalyst or an accelerant for economic change, and this past year is no exception. From the onset of the viral outbreak, many changes have taken place as our lifestyles have evolved and adapted to suit the various societal restrictions we have experienced. Some of these temporary adaptations have improved efficacy and profitability and will become new areas of economic importance. Here we will discuss our prediction of what these emerging economic sectors will be and how they will be critical to inducing economic boom, rather than mere recovery.
According to market analysts this may be the largest contributor to the forecast uplift in consumer spending in the wake of the pandemic. The severe social restrictions have separated family and friends for over a year and counting. The anticipation for the easing of restrictions has created a significant build-up in demand, this in combination with the increase in household savings is likely to lead to a surge in consumer spending.
The rise of the staycations has captured the attention of the public with many accommodations at full capacity for popular UK destinations this summer. Due to the international travel restrictions, national holidays are a trend which is likely to continue and drive revenue to various locations throughout the UK.
Though many other sectors have experienced a low period of economic activity, residential property largely appreciated in value particularly around PCL and key growth areas in the North. Research undertaken by market intelligence from Global Mortgages indicates that the country received a large amount of revenue from the property market this past year with purchasers into London’s prime market accounting for 12% of the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) receipts throughout England in 2020. According to this source, approximately £2.9 billion was paid in stamp duty across England.
The increase in foreign direct investment in property development both for residential and commercial sites. The strengthening of political ties between Britain and historically overseas territory, particularly Hong Kong with the government’s announcement of a new visa application, continues to generate property transactions from these prospective overseas nationals.
Survey responses, and data accumulated from various estate agencies, showed a pattern in the number of homeowners opting for a more rural dwelling over their city centre lifestyle. This was particularly evident in the capital as some 73,950 homeowners relocated to the surrounding areas on the outskirts of London. Furthermore, the percentage of these that sought a home with commutable city location and natural scenery, in equal measure, was far higher than has been ever before.
With the outbreak of the pandemic many services have had to look for alternative ways to continue in a contactless and socially distanced manner and the main way of facilitating this has been through technology. Communication apps and meeting platforms such as Zoom, Houseparty and Microsoft Teams, have grown exponentially in popularity throughout the duration of the pandemic as they have been a new means of allowing family and friends to socialise.
Digital workplace and remote desktop software have also revolutionised the traditional nine to five working day structure in a response to the global shift towards working from home. The increase in employee productivity from home-based and flexible working has likely altered the way in which companies and businesses operate for the long-term.
The introduction of online health services such as automated prescription services, videocall appointments and app consultation bookings has made every-day healthcare far more accessible and efficient. The development of remote diagnostic and fitness technology, particularly with the test and trace app technology and rumoured discussion of a biological vaccine passport, the regulations on medicine related technologies are likely to be revised also.
The movement favouring e-commerce, although catalysed by the circumstance surrounding the pandemic, has been steadily gaining traction for years. There are currently 45.36 million e-commerce users in the UK, with an additional 4.06 million users expected to be shopping online by the end of 2021. By the beginning of this year, e-commerce sales accounted for an astounding 27.5% of total retail sales and approach one-third by 2024 with a market volume of £92,464 million by 2025. According to Statista, 55% of the population shop online and the most popularly purchased items were clothes and sports-related goods. According to a data collection conducted by the Office for National Statistics, last year 32% of UK online shoppers purchased deliveries from restaurants, fast-food chains or catering services. The potential future growth of this sector is exponential and will likely highlight multiple logistical challenges along the way.