Covid-19 has shaken our economy to its very foundations. Every forecast was blown apart. The coronavirus crisis has brought about disruptive and lasting changes. This crisis has created difficulties for many companies, but it has also created new opportunities and new ways of operating. In the long-term, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Below, Euler Hermes points out some of the positive effects of the Covid-19 crisis:

Successive lockdowns and working from home have turned the way businesses are organised upside down. In just a few weeks, companies had to adapt to this unprecedented situation. Mandatory homeworking during the coronavirus crisis actually proved to be successful, and many companies are considering maintaining it in some form or another in the future. In addition to making life more comfortable, working from home also has a positive influence on mobility, particularly in large cities.
 
The transition to digitization also took off unexpectedly. In this regard, there have been huge leaps forward in digital communication between employees and with customers. Companies have heavily invested in digital tools and a lot of communication is now done via webinars and video conferences, whether for job interviews, discussions with colleagues, or meetings with prospects and customers. Online training has also been very successful. Nowadays, these digital tools are considered essential.
Most companies have experienced a decrease - or even the disappearance - of incomes following the coronavirus crisis and will have to redouble their efforts to compensate for the losses incurred. But not everyone experienced the crisis in the same way; certain sectors or types of activity even benefited from the pandemic:
  • the medical and healthcare sector
  • e-commerce and home delivery services
  • "made in Belgium", short supply chains, and convenience stores
  • sales of smartphones, tablets, and video conference and e-learning solutions
  • digital entertainment such as Netflix, video on demand, consoles and video games
  • electric bikes and scooters
  • the well-being sector, sports sector and the good eating and better living sector
homeworking

The global pandemic highlighted how fragile some companies were in a context where borders are closed and international supply chains are interrupted. After this experience, we might expect companies to reduce some of their international supply chains and relocate their production to their own country, in order to strengthen and secure the flow of goods.

 

As mentioned above, protectionist reflexes will become increasingly important. However, for many companies, the local market is quickly becoming too small. It will therefore continue to be essential to look beyond borders. In order to keep supply and distribution channels relatively short, companies will prioritise looking for partners and customers in neighbouring countries. It is possible that we will see trade with distant countries decrease.

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