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How COVID-19 is accelerating a digital revolution in construction and manufacturing

Covid19-digital-construction-manufacturingThe coronavirus pandemic has spurred companies to upgrade their digital capabilities, boosting productivity and creating investment opportunities in previously overlooked niches.

In his new book, Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity, the author Scott Galloway rejects the widespread view that the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally transformed the world. Instead, he argues the crisis “has been an accelerant of trends that were already well underway”.1

Take companies’ investment in digital processes. Many firms had gradually implemented digital upgrades in recent years, but the pandemic has given these projects a new urgency. Over the last 12 months, companies have stepped up investments in technology to ensure they can communicate remotely with customers and keep their businesses running under lockdowns.

commerce_during_CovidPredictably, Big Tech companies have been among the main beneficiaries amid turbocharged demand for online services. On an earnings call in April 2020, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella cited surging usage of its collaboration platform, Teams. “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months – from remote teamwork and learning, to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security,” he said.2

Other tech sectors have seen even faster growth. According to one study, e-commerce penetration in the US more than doubled in the first quarter of 2020, as consumers who had previously been slow to shop online, such as the over-65s, logged in en masse – equivalent to ten years’ worth of growth in just three months (see Figure 1).3 Similar trends are being observed in other global markets.

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  1. Scott Galloway, ‘Post corona: from crisis to opportunity – winners and losers in a world turned upside-down’, Penguin, 2020
  2. Jared Spataro, ‘2 years of digital transformation in two months’, Microsoft, April 30, 2020
  3. ‘The quickening’, McKinsey & Co., June 2020

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