Paradigm Shift: Changes in Businesses Due to COVID

I was talking to my nine-year-old niece, and I asked her “What’s a camera?”

She pointed at the back of my phone, the top part with circular lenses and said “That’s a camera”.

That caught me off-guard, for the first thing that came to my mind (and the older generations) was a rectangular item where with your index finger it would go ‘click’. For reference, it is this:

That is to show a shift of technology from before, to now.

The coronavirus seems to be giving us the impression of that one friend during the new year party who refuses to leave even after everyone has retired home.

As COVID-19 is here to stay, businesses have no choice but to adapt to the ‘new norm’ or be left behind. Thus, a [paradigm shift] swept the world of business.

Changes in the entertainment industry

Let us start off with the shift of how consumers view series/movies. Due to COVID, viewing patterns shifted from cinema and cable television to online platforms like Youtube and streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.

Shows that are aired on cable television such as the Late Night Show/Daily Show with Trevor Noah/Jimmy Fallon/Conan O’Brien, all had to air their shows on Youtube, for they could no longer have a live audience during their shootings.

online movie

Steaming services such as Netflix achieved 78 million household views on the movie ‘The Old Guard’ in its first four weeks. If you think that is amazing, the beloved Disney and their streaming service, Disney+ outdid the competition.

Sure, due to COVID-19, Disneyland in California was losing $30 million a day. Disney+ movie Mulan (released March 2020) made $75 million in its first 12 days, but its shooting budget was $200 million.

For context, Mulan lost Disney more money than ‘The Lone Ranger’ (I will leave it to your discretion if you wish to check out that movie). However, due to the shift to streaming services during the pandemic, Disney+ was able to achieve their 5-year subscriber goal in just 8 months. They managed to accumulate a total of 73 million subscribers in their first year, a feat that took Netflix nine (9) years.

Changes in the fast food industry

Let’s switch our attention to the fast-food industry. Dine-in was not allowed during the pandemic, increasing the demand for take-away and drive thru. Businesses in this industry were more than happy for this, as a customer who orders a meal in the drive thru is more valuable to the restaurant than a customer who dines in.

This is because it costs money to clean and rent the dining area while paying for its lighting and heating. All that cost does not apply to a drive thru part of the restaurant. Just do a quick search online, and you’ll see that most of the fast-food restaurants that we know and love are submitting building plans with more drive-thru facilities.

The consumer behaviour of an individual has changed from the pre-pandemic period. Only time will tell if all, most, or even some businesses from various industries would have their paradigm shift moments or bow out from their respective markets.

fast food industry

Changes in the education sector

As for education, schools, universities and colleges were closed to stop the spread of the virus. The pandemic has forced teachers and students to embrace remote, or online learning – and whether we like it or not, online learning is here to stay.

While there are some downsides to online learning, such as ‘Zoom fatigue’, it can be beneficial. Students who are living in remote areas now have an opportunity to attend courses that were not available to them before. Both teachers and students save on commuting costs and time if they live very far from campus. Last but not least, remote learning enables the reduction of numbers in huge lecture halls, saving space and lowering costs.

online learning
Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Adapting to the new normal

Because the coronavirus is here to stay for a while, there is a need for businesses to adapt in order to survive and succeed. Here are two things that companies can do to turn this crisis into an opportunity:

Reassess the opportunity for growth – Recognize and identify changing consumer habits and trends. Be open to multiple perspectives. Ask yourself which competitors are doing well and what are they doing differently. When you understand where the opportunities for growth are, you will be able to reconfigure your business model to recapture your customers.

Change your business model – Your business model should be shaped by the shift in both the demand and supply of your particular industry. Consider digital engagement and providing value online, as you would have provided in your physical stores.

Update yourself – One of the best ways to move forward is to ensure that you are continuously learning. If you have the means, take the pandemic as an opportunity to learn as much as you can. Enrol yourself in a business course, if you haven’t done one before; or take on a masters in a specified niche if you already have a business degree. Use this time to learn everything you can and you’ll be a much stronger player in this season.


While the global pandemic has caused many businesses to shut down, there are some that have taken the opportunity to adapt and grow. In fact, it is essential to change in order not to fail during this time. Remember that change is inevitable and with time, we all have to do some reconfigurations, so why not now?



15 November 2021


General News