It is fair to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a number on most Jamaican businesses. The 2020 PIOJ report indicated the economy has shrunk by approximately 18% and is expected to shrink even further.
However, there are some business sectors that have found the silver lining and have grown during the pandemic using the digital space
We have narrowed it down to our top 6 business sectors that are setting the trend on how to pivot your business online.
These sectors are growing rapidly, and it’s not too late to join so that you can come out on top!
1. Delivery Services
Making #1 on the list has to be the boom in delivery services.
Worldwide, the food delivery business is one of the industries that has seen the highest growth since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
In Jamaica, online searches for food delivery reached an all-time high in April 2020.
With such high demand, there are many businesses that have been growing by providing this much-needed service.
Our two top examples are 7Krave and Quickplate. Who does not know of these two delivery services?
7Krave opened up the market by providing the ease of getting fast food like KFC and Wendy’s directly to your home, whilst Quickplate specializes in delivery from your favourite restaurant.
The result? According to a 2020 Gleaner article, profits are booming.
No surprise there. Grocery-to-home deliveries are also on the rise as supermarkets such as HiLo and Pricesmart are delivering goods directly to their customers’ homes.
In addition, courier services have also grown as more consumers order goods online. Services such as Mailpac, Circles, and ShipMe have made it easier to buy goods online internationally and have them delivered to your home or workplace.
2. Online Events
A year ago, going to a party online would be the last thing any Jamaican would want to spend their money or time on. The entertainment industry has taken one of the hardest hits due to COVID-19 as government regulations have restricted large events.
As we have seen, a lot can happen in a year, and for many Jamaicans, we miss the music and dancing.
However, the entertainment industry has pivoted the party from the venue to the digital space.
A great example of this is Big Par, a party that moved online after being shut down due to government regulations.
Moving the party online got over 36,000 listeners from over 30 different countries, much more than their actual event could have handled!
Not to mention the online Verzuz event between Beenie Man and Bounty Killa, which topped Instagram Live for a number of viewers as well as the return of the iconic Reggae Sunsplash online.
In addition, corporate events such as conferences are now streamed online to thousands of viewers, much more than at an actual venue.
Now, any Jamaican who wants to tune in can register for these events online. A great example of this is the PSOJ: Crossing the Chasm Conference, which gathered members of parliament, financial moguls, and business experts alike to discuss a path to economic recovery.
Due to the online nature of the event, all Jamaicans were invited and could register online for free!
If you are hosting an event, have you thought of switching online? It could have better results than you imagine!
3. Virtual Health and Wellness
2020 taught us how important it is to take care of our health - both physically and mentally. With many people working and studying from home, it is important to have a healthy routine and maintain a general sense of well-being.
However, working out at home is quite difficult, and requires an extra shot of motivation. In the past year, there have been many online programs that help people to work out conveniently at home, with the needed motivation and customized routine from a certified trainer. Personal trainers, Garette Campbell from the Zone and Andre Ross, were very early adopters of this.
There is still plenty of room for growth in the virtual health and wellness sector! As lockdown measures continue in 2021, we will likely see other businesses emerge not just for fitness, but also for nutrition, personal self-care, therapy, and life coaching.
When we think of online shopping, the first thing that comes to mind is likely “Amazon''. Before you head to Amazon to find your needed item, check out some great Jamaican businesses that have moved their catalog online.
For your furniture needs, a great example is Spaces Jamaica, which has a wide range from chairs, sofas to wall art and bookends. It has unique accents and statement pieces that you can look through in one scroll.
For Hardware, K-Ban Hardware is another great example. A trendsetter in its field for sure, and spares us the journey of having to make the trip all the way to the hardware for one item. Look through their collection online with ease, and all prices are listed in USD and JMD.
Lastly, we cannot forget Sampars Shopping. who make buying groceries easy by delivering goods to your home or for a quick pickup. Payments can be done online via direct transfers or credit cards.
If you can get your products online, invest in e-commerce!
It will make the shopping experience much more enjoyable and convenient for your customers.
5. Online Education
Due to the pandemic, virtual education is now the New Normal. From primary school all the way up to university, students are now taking their classes online. This comes with its own sets of challenges, and many students, teachers, and parents are still finding the transition to online learning difficult.
Fortunately, we have seen several businesses emerge to fill this gap and support the push to online learning.
Businesses like One on One Educational Services and Learning Hub Online are providing support and much-needed peace of mind to Jamaican parents and students alike with their online classes from the primary to secondary level. These businesses have even partnered with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, and Digicel Jamaica as part of their Education Plan, which gives students more affordable data access to their online learning platforms.
There is also a greater demand for online courses and interactive tutoring, such as Udemy, Masterclass, and Linkedin learning, as parents and students alike are seeking additional support outside of the school curriculum. Businesses and individuals that can cater to this demand and provide valuable help as this emerging sector will definitely see growth in 2021!
6. Content Creation
Now that so many businesses are heading online, content creation is in high demand. More than ever, businesses are looking for graphic designers, video creators, and copywriters. Catching your customers has moved from billboards to right on their phones. As people have more time at home, digital content is on the rise. People watch over 1 billion hours on Youtube each day! Jamaican content creators on YouTube, Instagram, or other social media platforms have taken advantage of this growing market. They create various types of engaging content such as family and lifestyle blogs, podcasts, challenges, or humorous content that highlight our culture.
Noteworthy Mention: Using Technology to Transform an Existing Business
Although not a sector in itself, worth mentioning are businesses that have used technology to transform and pivot their existing business model.
A great example is Palace Amusement, whose entire business model - watching movies in a theatre - has been shut down due to COVID-19 regulations. Instead of giving up, they embraced technology to transform their business model by switching to a drive-in cinema.
Palace Amusement recently opened its New Kingston drive-in, and it has been receiving a good crowd. Patrons can download their ticket onto their phones, and pass along the code to the cashier, where they are then given the radio frequency to tune in on. This is a great switch, and shows that businesses are really meeting the needs of their customers! If you have a business that has had to be shut down due to the pandemic, see how you can embrace technology to pivot and transform your business
The PSOJ’s weekly financial series, COVIDCastJA, hosted by Rochelle Cameron and Nevada Powe, has been advocating this since early last year and you can view their episode on the 6 Ways to Pivot Your Business here.
Join the Trend!
These trends show that behind every cloud, there is a silver lining. Despite the impact of the pandemic, Jamaican entrepreneurs and businesses have found ways to be innovative and find opportunities for growth.
It is not too late to join these emerging trends, and you too can use one of these examples to achieve growth in 2021!
Let us know your thoughts on this! If you pivoted your own business, or if you know any other trending sectors, then feel free to share it with us in the comments below