8 Key Business Trends Shaped by the Pandemic

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With the arrival of the fall season, many companies are facing new challenges particularly in response to and impacted by the pandemic. In a recent podcast by McKinsey and Company, Senior Partner Celia Huber discusses industry shifts with Global Managing Partner, Kevin Sneader. According to Sneader, there are “The eight trends that will define 2021 – and beyond.” Today we will share about these trends, as well as examine how they might impact your business as it relates to shipping.

Trend #1 – Innovation

Similar to the intense period of innovation seen in 17th century England when the bubonic plague struck, new ideas are surfacing at increased rates. There are double the number of new patents being granted in the US right now than there were in 2019. Business owners can expect more innovative technology and would do well to ask themselves how their organization will embrace technology over the next 12 months.

Trend #2 – Consumer Behaviour

The speed at which digital innovation has taken place means that consumer behaviour will be greatly impacted. E-grocery, virtual healthcare, and increased investment in homes and living environments will continue. Education and entertainment have proven to be less desirable online so they will return to in person. As customers shift their patterns to working from home and doing more things online, how will business adapt and continue to build their connection to consumers?

Trend #3 – Environment

Climate change is both a massive issue as well as a huge opportunity for our generation. About $3.5 trillion is invested in energy infrastructure every year. Each region has a different starting point, but the potential for a green recovery is there. Business leaders have to ask themselves how their businesses will participate in and shape a recovery that is more green than brown. Maersk and CMA are two shipping lines that are already looking into establishing LNG or low emission vessels. Companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint in the shipping process.

Trend #4 – Healthcare

Aside from telehealth visits continuing post-pandemic, research and scientific progress will continue. During the pandemic, $180 billion was spent on research for vaccines and other tools. These scientific advancements will fuel and inform the future of healthcare.

Trend #5 – Increased Government Scrutiny

Many industries have needed government backing financially to get through the pandemic. With the government being increasingly involved, quite naturally government scrutiny will also increase. Companies will need to cope with this.

Trend #6 – Restructuring Corporate Portfolios

Portfolios are being restructured to reflect the shifts in values over this past year. The top 20% of companies gained $240 billion while the bottom 20% lost $400 billion in economic profit. This major shift impacts how investments are being made.

Trend #7 – Shifting Supply Chains

This past year has shown us the importance of having improved resilience as transportation interruptions majorly disrupted supply chains. Companies need to re-evaluate their “just in time” model and figure out how to plan further ahead. Supply chains won’t change overnight but companies will be finding ways to increase resilience.

Trend #8 – Return to Air Travel

While global air travel decreased dramatically and may not return to previous levels until 2024, many people will want to travel again. Business travel may remain slower and perhaps even 20% of business travel may never return. Still, air travel will return as people start flying to different places again.

We encourage you to read the full article on McKinsey’s website.

1. The eight trends that will define 2021–and beyond, McKinsey & Company, June 21, 2021, Accessed Sept 14, 2021.
2. The next normal arrives: Trends that will define 2021—and beyond, McKinsey & Company, Jan 4, 2021, Accessed Sept 14, 2021.