2020 Round-Up: Food Delivery Mania, the Remote Work Revolution, TikTok Addiction and Virtual EVERYTHING

27 December 2020

The year we stayed home. The year of the reluctant revolution. The year that kicked us out of our comfy, swivel-wheeled office chairs and sent us all home for good.

We can all agree that 2020 has presented us with more plot-twists than a Netflix Original, but there’s something nice about going into 2021 on even footing. All of us equally exhausted, and sharing the collective memory of being pushed to our absolute limit as private individuals and business professionals. 

But with the year drawing to a close, and a life-saving vaccine glinting hopefully on the horizon, let’s flip the script and pat ourselves on the back for our human ingenuity in the face of uncertainty. Let’s revisit five of the fantastic ways that businesses and consumers hit back at adversity this year:

1. The Remote Work Revolution; #WFH 


Perhaps one of the most significant workplace shake-ups of 2020 has been the home-office revolution. Remember how, before the pandemic working from home was a rare luxury? Now it’s an everyday reality for most (ex)office workers. 

Overnight we switched from routine-driven creatures in a constant state of commute to pyjama-wearing video call attendees, rolling out of bed, and onto 9 am conference calls. And it’s all thanks to a super speedy American software company; Zoom. 

Zoom opened the year with a market cap of $19 billion, now in December, it’s looking at an eye-watering market valuation of over $139 billion. 2020 is the year of the technology boom, and companies like Zoom are at the helm. 

2. Digital Transformation, the Death of Malls, and Rapid Online Growth 


While malls, retail districts and shopping hubs suffered a footfall apocalypse, B2B e-commerce sales grew from $1.1 trillion in 2019 to $1.3 trillion in 2020. 

For offline businesses that had previously resisted digital transformation and couldn’t make the super-fast switch to digital that 2020 demanded, the pandemic was the kiss of death. 

For better or worse, 2020 accelerated the digitization of products and services, and with a world population still captive to stay-home rules, we expect to see more of the same e-commerce growth in 2021. 


3. Food Delivery Explodes the On-Demand Economy 


When it comes to food (and everything else for that matter), ‘convenient’, ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ are some of our favourite words. And with so many of us stuck home this year, restaurants and cafes jumped on the easy-life bandwagon. For many outlets, catering for takeaways became a survival tactic. For us, 2020 is the year that every kind of food imaginable popped up on delivery apps across the land. 

Doorstep deliveries are more popular than ever, especially with people concerned about hygiene and venturing outside. Delivery services offer contactless convenience that brings products and services safely to our doors, and we can’t get enough of it. 

PwC predicts that the on-demand economy will reach $335 billion by 2025, and you know what? We’re here for it!


4. AI is Here to Play & We Can’t Get Enough of TikTok 


It’s not just the way we work or shop that has changed this year. The way we play and socialise has had to evolve too. 

At the pandemic’s height in March 2020, TikTok’s downloads reached 115 million in a month.  But what’s fascinating about this micro-karaoke experience is the AI technology that powers the app. The speed with which TikTok leverages data to predict user interest and keep us hooked and scrolling (forever and ever) is the reason it currently boasts over 800 million monthly active users. 

2020 increased our online playtime, which was predictable, given how limited our movement has been. Still, the way companies collect our data and preferences and use them to influence and serve us is a phenomenon that’s only getting more intimate and accurate. The question is, where do we draw the line? 


5. Virtual Workouts Win 

2020 took us out of well-loved studios and high-tech, equipment-filled gyms and ushered exercise into our homes. This year, the entire fitness industry went virtual.

Streaming classes and hosting live sessions via social media is a major 2020 trend. And we’ll be interested in whether the $100 billion fitness industry continues to serve its customers digitally after ‘normal life’ resumes, and if virtual trainers and Netflix style workout subscriptions are here to stay. 


Our opinion? 

The ability to innovate offerings and digitize products and services provides a vital revenue stream for businesses operating in an uncertain economy. With no end-date on Covid-19 and no way to confidently plan-ahead, successfully targeting online consumers is crucial to every single business right now. 


Final Thoughts and a Big Takeaway (not the food kind) 

2020 has done for digital what the Renaissance period did for art. The main difference is that the Renaissance happened over hundreds of years. 2020 was just 365 days long. The English proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” has never been more appropriate or fitting than in a year where overnight, many of us have had to completely change the way we live, shop play and socialise. It would have been nice to have more time to adjust. Still, considering the circumstances surrounding 2020’s technological rebirth, it’s incredible that we’ve come as far as we have in one short (absolutely outrageous) year.

Our biggest takeaway for the language industry, and indeed for any business that wants to continue to thrive in difficult times, is to adopt a more agile approach to the way we build our offerings, teach our people, and approach our customers. 

When ambiguity is more common than calendared activity, agility keeps us moving, untethering us from the bulkiness of plans, and helping us shift focus and need, depending on the situations we find ourselves in. An agile approach to work is crisis-proof, and leaning into new requests and requirements is one way to counteract the chaos of pandemic life. 

‘Agility’ is the common thread that unites all of the lifestyle and work changes we’ve made this year. Whether it’s throwing together desk spaces so we can work from home, ordering our groceries online, or doing our morning yoga over Facebook live, we’ve proven ourselves to be an incredible bunch of new-normal-adapting humans. 


And we should all be very proud of that. 

It’s easier to flow with change than to stand in its face and resist it. If you’re in the middle of a digital transformation and need help localizing your offering, visit e-arabization.com or drop us a message.