Stranger times we are living. Not even less scary than Sci-Fi Movies could imagine, in order to avoid the massive propagation of a virus, you need to stay in your home.
It could be boring being inside for two weeks, a month or even two months, we all know. But right now is the only way we have to prevent it and don’t saturate the health system in every single city/location. But let’s think about the next 12 months together.
Right now, China is starting their activity to the normal levels it use to have at the end of 2019, public places are opening again, Museums, airports, some flight routes are working as normal, and the great news is that as today they have 0 domestic cases in the whole country. Of course, control is strict everywhere.
In most of the countries that started the quarantine in early March or late February, the situation would be under control at the end of April, for the other side we have countries like the United States with a lot of population and dense cities like New York City where the government didn’t take any action until they had a lot of cases. The panorama is going to be really different there. Why? Don’t think about how expensive is the health system in the US, just think it incapacity, how many beds are in hospitals and clinics?
AHA says it has around 920.000 hospital beds in the whole country. For a population of 317 million that’s around 1 bed every 400 people. Right now there are more than 53.000 confirmed cases. And since it’s beginning there we should expect a peak in the next 14 to 15 days. After that, we should expect one month to have the situation under control.
Imagine today is May 15th, 2019, what’s the picture of the world you can see? I can imagine a paranoid society for the next two months, everybody is able to go outside, going back to your job (I will cover this soon), and start having the life they had before the pandemic. But people would be scared, they will change some habits, they will try to not going outside for a longer period of time, of course, personal hygiene will remain, most people are going to wash their hands often.
A lot of countries will start to invest in systems to be ready, aware and prepared for new cases of viruses likes COVID-19. This would be mainly because most of the countries didn’t know how to act, didn’t know about the virus, how will affect people and what to do with society. I think countries will invest in a well-developed system and mechanism to prevent the spread of new viruses in record time. To give you an idea, if most countries would follow the example of Thailand or South Korean and close the border and stop all activities after having the first case in the region, the number of cases in the following days would be MUCH MORE LOWER than countries who do not take any action after having one or a few hundred of cases.
It’s early June and all borders are open again, but as you guessed with strict controls, now it’s going to be possible to be rejected by a country if you arrive with some fever and few symptoms. This is going to last for a few months but after a while, we are going back to normal where nobody cares about your body temperature to enter a country.
Lots of people lost their jobs during and after the COVID-19 outbreak. People who worked for bigger companies were at lower risk since most of them will keep their jobs. Huge companies like Amazon, Walmart, among others like online retailers, logistics and on the healthcare industry decided to hire more people as temporary workers for the situation, this means a great percent of the people who lost their job during the COVID-19 at least will have a temporary solution and at the same time would be part of the solution during the outbreak and the weeks before.
As soon as the countries have the situation under control, some businesses will start opening like restaurants, clothing stores, service providers like construction services, beauty, etc. Business with some previous cash-flow will reduce their employees to keep operating. Micro-business, like one to four people companies, will be less affected and will recover soon because in most cases their costs structures are easy to maintain over time.
Companies with a focus on B2B will recover a bit slower than B2C because most businesses that are using services from others will prefer to do everything in house or not using different services to keep operating and that will help improve their cashflow. B2C for the other hand will recover faster as soon as most people have a job and have some money to inject in the economy.
Food industry and consumer goods, except for clothing, will keep normal levels of production and the number of people who work there as well. One positive thing about the coronavirus outbreak is that in most countries we are not going to face a shortage of products, except for hand sanitizer. Of course, there are a bunch of stupid people who overstocked some products, thinking in a shortage scenario, but the truth is that most manufacturers keep producing and delivering their goods.
Car sales will drop a lot. This is going to be one of the worst years for the car industry, and this will slow down the innovation in autonomous cars a bit, not the innovation itself but the real-world tests. In countries where it’s really easy to get a car loan like the US, UK or other countries like Mexico, the interest rate will be higher and the total debt in loans will be higher. A lot of people in those countries are going to lose their cars.
Housing in cities with a high impact of COVID-19 cases will suffer a reduction in the rent price for properties followed by a drop in the value of the assets. In most countries of the world where the buyer depends on a 30-years-plus loan with Banks and National Entities would face some minor problems, not huge like 2008 in the US. Good countries will re-calculate interests, rates, periods and time.
A slowdown in the economy impacts really strong in innovation, without capital and liquidity we don’t have the capital to invest in risky things like startups.
In the world we are going to live in that moment the innovation is not going to be a major problem, we are going to take care of primary stuff like healthcare, prevention and trying to recover lost jobs mainly. But I want to take a moment to talk about technology, startups, SaaS, innovation and how the COVID-19 will affect this industry in the following months after the outbreak.
As I said there would be less capital in circulation to found startups and non-essentials ideas at the beginning. Every innovation related to healthcare and prevention would be well backed by VCs like we were used to seeing in other industries in the past.
From my point of view, startups in the crypto and fintech fields will not be as trendy as they were in previous years. As I said healthcare will be the protagonist for VCs in 2020. However, there is a great opportunity for fintech to develop a new kind of technology to help prevent a financial crisis on a personal level for customers but also in the enterprises using data and information generated on the results on the COVID-19 crisis, finding patterns, behaviors and understanding how it affects deeply in every single case would be crucial to come with a world-class solution. At least in the theoretical scenario.
The exception for this rule would be AI. I am sure in the following 10 years we are going to be able to prevent some diseases or virus spreading using AI. We are going to see a bunch of new startups in the AI + Healthcare field that would be trending.
Robotics and Hardware would be in the top 5 for investors as well. Why? Because they can improve a lot of stuff with robots and new hardware, like assists people, detect stuff, assists doctors and make life easier for people.
For actually SaaS companies, if their business model depends on subscription, depending on your industry and kind of service you offer, you should expect to see a peak in the number of people who cancel. Why? Because some businesses and people want to reduce their monthly expenses and others would be out of business and your product/service would be not useful anymore for them.
The good thing about recurring business models is that you can see very clearly the future path and the tendency after incrementing the churn rate in a given period. Based on that you can take action to reduce your expenses as well, so I think most businesses that use a subscription model are not going to be a huge risk that the ones that depend on hard payments every single month.
These are some of my thoughts on the future of the world from the point where we are today. Most of my predictions are based on my common sense and a little bit of research for different topics.
How do you see the future? The glass is half empty or half full will depend on your vision and situation. Share with me what do you think in the comments below.