When I say post-pandemic, I don’t exactly mean “post” because there doesn’t seem to be a timeline for when this will end. What I do mean is a time when we’re more accustomed to the changes to our way of life that the pandemic has enforced.
Because it’s hard to find a vaccine or “cure” for viruses, and even the flu shot doesn’t guarantee you won’t die from it. Nor did we find a vaccine for the earlier version of the SARS virus that’s causing COVID. The virus basically travels until a significant percentage of the population is infected. That’s when the probability of the uninfected to get infected drops (herd immunity). In the meantime, and if we’re lucky, it may undergo a mutation that’s less deadly, in which case, the whole scare dies down. Curiously, this is what the virus wants as well, to go on feeding on the host instead of killing it. Eww.
But a host of companies are working on a vaccine, so we may just get it next year, or the year after that.
Obviously, we can’t just stop living in the interim, nor can we stop investing. So the wisest thing to do would be to adjust to the “new normal”. And that itself will tell us what we should be investing in.
If there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind about the number one trend determining the future from this point on, let me tell you, it’s called “work from home.” And why do I call this a megatrend? It’s because the place where the consumer is, decides the place where commercial activity happens.
So if more people are going to the office, they will need to travel, they will need a certain kind of IT support at the office, they will eat out more, they will need a certain kind of dress and so forth. If on the other hand they are working from home, they won’t need to travel as much, they will need a different kind of IT support, different home furnishings, different kind of dress and they’ll need more groceries. They’ll also want a break from cooking, so they’ll love to have food delivered home. With travel time cut down and generally greater flexibility, they’ll probably watch more TV and other entertainment, and play more games.
The CDC has provided guidelines and most people are currently aware that they must wash their hands as often as possible. Not only that, we also know that we’d better clean and sanitize our surroundings as much as we do ourselves. Because the virus survives on different surfaces for different lengths of time until it can attach itself to human protein. So most of us are cleaning more than we’ve ever done before and insisting that the folks that serve us do the same. This change in our cleaning regimens is trend number two.
The third trend, supporting the second one, is reducing physical contact with other persons and things. Increasing contact means more cleaning, so it just feels more peaceful to reduce. This means more personal time, which may be used to exercise, read books, watch TV, play games, go online, do gardening, cook, and so forth. It could be anything that can be done at home or alone, for when you’ve had your dose of family.
It also means that we try to buy everything we need online and reduce contact with the delivery person. And when we do visit the store as we sometimes must, we don’t want physical contact with sales staff or the cashier. It also means that we prefer handling official communication through email and video conferencing to personal interaction and prefer calling the doctor rather than visiting the clinic to reduce risk of infection.
The fourth trend is cook-at-home. More time spent at home and fear of the virus spreading through delivery people are the main reasons. It means a greater reliance on groceries than on restaurants.
The final trend is a result of the unfortunate fallout of the pandemic. Many people are out of jobs, many fear they will lose their jobs and many small shops have virtually no business left. They are surviving on government support. This means rising demand for cheap/discounted goods.
5 stocks that look good based on the above trends-
Chegg, Inc. (CHGG – Free Report)
Chegg provides a social education platform offering printed textbooks on rent or sale as well as eTextbooks, supplemental materials, homework help, textbook buyback, courses, and college admissions and scholarship services. It also offers enrollment marketing and brand advertising services.
Zacks Rank #1
Industry: Internet – Software Top 18% (46 out of 253)
eBay Inc. (EBAY – Free Report)
eBay operates as an online shopping site that allows visitors to browse through available products listed for sale or auction through each company’s online storefront. Over the years, the company has evolved from a relatively small community user-based auction site to a worldwide commercial behemoth store.
Zacks Rank #1
Industry: Internet – Commerce Top 30% (76 out of 253)
The Procter & Gamble Company (PG – Free Report)
The Procter & Gamble Company, also referred to as Procter & Gamble or P&G, is a branded consumer products company which markets its products in more than 180 countries primarily through mass merchandisers, grocery stores, membership club stores, drug stores, department stores, distributors, baby stores, specialty beauty stores, e-commerce, high frequency stores and pharmacies. It has operations in approximately 70 countries.
Zacks Rank #2
Industry: Soap and Cleaning Materials Top 14% (35 out of 253)
The Kroger Co. (KR – Free Report)
Kroger, which operates supermarkets, multi-department stores, marketplace stores and price impact warehouse stores offers low-margin groceries. As of March 25, the company operated 2,757 retail food stores under various banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia, as well as an online retail store. The company has been turning itself around by digitizing certain operations and is in a strategic partnership with British grocery delivery firm Ocado to construct three new customer fulfillment centers in the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest, and West regions.
Zacks Rank #1
Industry: Retail – Supermarkets Top 43% (108 out of 253)
Dollar General Corporation (DG – Free Report)
Dollar General Corporation is one of the largest discount retailers in the United States. As of February 28, it operated 16,368 stores in 45 states in the United States. The company offers a broad selection of merchandise, including consumable items, seasonal items, home products and apparel from leading brands and its own private selections at substantial discounts. The items typically sell at $10 or less.
Zacks Rank #1
Industry: Retail – Discount Stores Top 9% (23 out of 253)
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Source: Zacks: 5 Trends That Will Drive the Post-Pandemic World