8 Industries Negatively Affected by COVID-19
During this crisis, almost 45 million Americans have filed for unemployment *1. (That’s almost 15% of the U.S. population.) While those in the apparel industry have been hit by the pandemic, they aren’t alone among the industries negatively affected by COVID-19.
Let’s examine eight industries challenged by COVID-19, discuss why they’ve been hit so hard and forecast what the future may hold, both for companies in the struggling industries and the companies that work with them.
1. Travel and Tourism
Travel has probably been the industry on the top of the list when it comes to industries negatively affected by COVID-19. In April, Forbes predicted that 50 million airline-related jobs might be lost. Now, the toll is closer to 100 million. The reason for this is simple: Many countries have blocked travel from infected areas. Even those countries allowing entry have placed limitations such as mandatory 14-day quarantines. Plus, many people aren’t comfortable traveling in close proximity to strangers during the pandemic.
The news from the aviation field is all over the place, with United Airlines possibly laying off almost one-third of its workforce. Other parts of the world, such as London, are seeing air travel pickup as restrictions ease*2.
Cruise lines are also hurting, and the situation hasn’t been helped by news stories of ship passengers not being allowed to disembark during the early days of the outbreak. Carnival is set to lose $4.5 billion, making it just one of the many travel companies challenged by COVID *3.
Tip: Branded travel items, apparel and face covers will be necessary items for cruise lines and airlines. These industries will need such products for both travelers and staff.
2. Mass Transit and Public Transportation
Mass transit causes a multi-pronged problem for these companies struggling with COVID-19. First, many people can’t use public or mass transit because of city or even state-wide lockdowns, which makes getting to work difficult. Then, as those restrictions have eased, many people don’t want to travel closely with others, especially if fellow travelers refuse to wear face covers. Unfortunately, many public transit workers have also fallen ill and succumbed to COVID-19. As of May 1, 2020, almost 100 bus and subway employees in New York City have died *4. If a reopening isn’t planned carefully, these numbers could skyrocket, and issues like lockdowns or reduced travel could occur again.
Tip: Both staff and travelers will need face covers, so a branded option could be useful. Transit staff will also need branded uniform items.
Hotel bookings are down, as people stay home due to mandatory and voluntary stay-at-home orders. To illustrate where hotels fall among the companies struggling with COVID-19, think of this: Hotels have been losing over $2 billion each week of the pandemic *5. Smaller chains and independently owned hotels may never reopen; those that do will face new costs as rooms will need to be fully sanitized between stays to ensure they’re safe.
Tip: Guests are going to want to be sure their rooms are clean, so face covers, wellness items and signage should sell well. Staff will also need uniform items and face covers.
Across the board, sports has been one of the top industries negatively affected by COVID-19, as professional and college sports seasons have been cancelled or postponed. Even the prestigious Masters golf tournament has been forced to move from its spring setting to a tentative November time slot.
Even if the players were able to safely start playing again, it’s likely that there wouldn’t be fans in the stands. This means huge losses in ticket sales, as well as other losses such as jobs in the stadiums and the cash that trickles down to surrounding businesses and local economies from event attendees. In May, ESPN predicted $12 billion in job losses in professional sports and double that, if the NFL and college football don’t return in the fall *6. Even those sports trying to stay afloat by running shows during the pandemic without fans, such as UFC and professional wrestling, have seen issues with production staff becoming infected during tapings.
While the automobile industry has been hit, it doesn’t top the list of those industries negatively affected by COVID-19. The early losses came because people were not interested in buying new cars that they could not drive due to lockdowns. As restrictions have relaxed, however, production and sales are picking back up *7. If, as is being predicted, the virus begins spiking again, these gains might well be reversed.
Tip: Pitch bundled new-car owner kits: a T-shirt, face cover, flashlight and ice scraper.
6. Film and Television
Movie theaters that were closed for months are slowly reopening, with limited seating and mask restrictions. New films and TV shows have halted production. The next installments in the Fast and the Furious, Halloween and Ghostbusters franchises now won’t hit theaters until 2021 *8. This industry is expected to lose $160 billion over the next five years *9.
One silver lining? The rise in streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBOMax, and Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. Another delightful surprise: the return of the drive-in movie *10.
7. Live Music and Theater
Broadway and the world’s theaters and music venues have been shuttered since February and March. In 2019, Broadway alone contributed $14 billion+ to the New York economy *11. This year’s Broadway theater season will not fully restart until 2021. There are numerous local and regional theaters and concert venues that are postponing or canceling their seasons as well. Live music concerts have also come to a standstill—in April, the expected loss was $9 billion *12.
Tip: Many musical artists and theater troupes are offering virtual performances. This is your opportunity to decorate and fulfill fan merch.
Finally, one of the biggest question marks as fall approaches is how the pandemic will impact the education industry. School systems are struggling with how to safely reopen their doors (or if they even should), while handling the frustrations of online learning. While K-12 school systems are debating the right path to take, the virus’ impact on higher education may be more significant.
Thousands of college students plan to skip this year: They don’t want to risk exposure and or pay tuition for online learning. Prestigious schools such as Harvard and Princeton expect to lose students, in part because they’ve announced they’ll charge the same tuition (in some cases, $50,000) for online courses.
The total operating budget for colleges in this country runs around $700 billion *13, so smaller colleges may not be saved by workarounds like distance learning. Also, the loss of college sport ticket sales and associated revenue is seriously hurting these schools as well.
Tip: Schools still distribute spirit and morale-boosting T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and totes to their online learners. When schools do reopen, they’ll need a supply of face covers for staffers and students.
Pay attention to these eight industries negatively impacted by COVID-19. Of course, there’s no denying COVID-19 is changing the apparel industry as well, but you can still find ways to serve these struggling industries with a little creativity.
(5) “These are the 10 industries hardest-hit by COVID-19,” BenefitsPro
(7) “As Sales Rise, Automakers Ramp Up Production,” The New York Times
12) “Concert industry could lose $9 billion this year due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Los Angeles Times
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