Digital services have had explosive growth amid confinements and social distance measures to prevent the rapid spread of the virus
During the economic crisis facing the world in the wake of COVID-19, there have been winners and losers.
The fortune of Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, has skyrocketed amid confinements. In a single day (July 20), his assets increased by $ 13 billion due to the success of his company’s shares on the stock exchange.
And the shares of companies that, before the pandemic, were dedicated to selling digital products or services, have also grown exponentially.
Sales in the Latin American e-commerce company Free market more than 70% rose in April and those of the company Rappi they increased 40% in the second week of March, according to unofficial data.
And the Brazilian digital bank Nubank It has seen an increase in customers over 60, an unprecedented situation, considering that this segment of the population did not seem willing to abandon their visits to bank branches.
But the coronavirus arrived and with it, the digital commerce boom – which was already on the rise – took a historic leap that experts believe will hardly go back to pre-pandemic levels when a vaccine appears.
.Jeff Bezos made $ 13 billion on a day of a pandemic.
And the field where growth opportunities are most clearly seen for entrepreneurs who manage to survive the financial effects of the pandemic are digital businesses.
But it is not just about selling products online, which is the first thing that comes to mind.
“Opportunities are growing in the field of digital services and e-commerce platforms“Says Fabrizio Opertti, manager of the Integration and Trade Sector of the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB, in dialogue with BBC Mundo.
“The momentum came from before and it is not going to stop. Pandemic accelerates trend“
These are 8 digital business opportunities in Latin America detected by the IDB and business promotion agencies in different countries of the region.
one. Distance education platforms
Due to the partial closure of schools, universities and offices, traditional education had to be transformed overnight into distance education.
The educational centers were among the first to be closed when confinements began to be decreed and social distancing policies were launched. So it was that they were forced to take virtual classes and get out of trouble waiting to improve their digital systems.
.Schools, universities and business training were moved to the virtual area by the virus.
And although in several countries of the region the confinements have been lifted, the existence of new shoots They have questioned the return to face-to-face classes.
Globally, the closure of schools from May affected the 70% of the world’s student population, equivalent to more than 1.7 billion students, according to the IDB.
Such will be the need for educational platforms around the world that business opportunities and competition will increase, even if a vaccine is eventually found.
In fact, before the pandemic hit, it was already expected that the virtual learning market in Latin America it will increase to $ 10 billion in 2025.
Who wants to go to a hospital or clinic in the middle of the pandemic? Probably nobody.
People have postponed medical visits, but in many cases, they are making them from home through virtual sessions with the doctor.
Although not all the population has access to the internet and the elderly are not used to this system, the COVID-19 shock has dramatically accelerated the change.
.Internet patients prefer to go to virtual doctor appointments to avoid hospitals and clinics.
With the containment measures, the American platform Geisinger Health, for example, reported that the use of its service increased 500% in the first weeks of the pandemic.
And since telemedicine is much less developed in the region, an undeniable field of opportunities opens up for entrepreneurs.
3. Digital services for electronic commerce
Although there are no regional estimates yet, there are country-specific data showing the increase in line sales, especially in food and cleaning products.
In Chile, they grew 119% and in Brazil 180% only in the month of March, according to IDB data.
.E-commerce requires digital services associated with the development of the sector.
In this area, the agency has detected the growth of businesses that offer digital solutions for integrate payment and billing platforms, sales carts and catalogs, or tools that use artificial intelligence for order management, marketing and inventory control.
4. Digital services for the agricultural sector
In Latin America, there are at least 450 companies that sell digital services to the agricultural world.
They are companies that move in a sector known as agrotech and that are constantly developing solutions to improve food production and distribution.
.Digital services to improve agricultural production have gained ground.
Agrotech firms work with tools analysis of data from the field And they use artificial intelligence, internet of things, or blokchain-based technologies to increase business productivity and monitor practical issues like weather and harvests.
For example, Uruguay successfully exports livestock traceability software.
At the regional level, the projections are positive for the techno-agricultural sector due to interruptions in the food supply during the crisis, the increase in logistical problems and the drop in the production capacity of fruits and vegetables.
5.Rvirtual and augmented reality for commerce
These technologies are developing useful applications in many industries.
For example, malls And stores that used to sell their products in person have started using virtual reality and augmented reality technology so that people can buy from home.
.Virtual and augmented reality technologies for commerce have grown in sectors such as real estate.
So is the real estateFor example, where people who want to rent or buy a property have the possibility of taking virtual tours that allow them to “walk” through the site they want to visit.
The same goes for architectural designs and entertainment-related businesses like concerts, sporting or cultural events.
6. Entertainment: animation, video game development and electronic sports
Just as Netflix has become one of the big winners during the pandemic, the digital services associated with the production of series, movies and videos for different platforms have increased.
In the area cinematographicinterruptions in live filming due to the pandemic are expected to spawn a boom in animated content.
.With the filming restrictions on COVID-19, an increase in animated productions is projected.
Latin America has dozens of large animation studios selling products in international markets and hundreds of smaller studios that could benefit from the crisis.
On the other hand, video games have replaced other forms of entertainment.
In the United States, its use increased 75% during the busiest hours in the first week of isolation. And electronic sports have also seen a rise.
Although it all depends on how the pandemic evolves, different estimates suggest that the number of people who do long-term remote work.
Not being centralized, teleworking exposes companies and workers themselves to potential cybersecurity threats.
.Remote work increases the chances of potential cyber threats.
Before the crisis, the cybersecurity services industry – at the global market level – was projected to grow to $ 230 billion in 2021.
But under the new circumstances, the market could expand much more, considering that in addition to companies, they also require digital protection public services and all kinds of organizations that operate remotely.
8. Financial Technologies
Another field in full development has to do with the financial technology or fintech industry, which refers to digital services focused on the finance sector.
.Financial technologies require services that help improve mobile transactions.
As electronic payments are becoming more common, there is a demand for services that help improve transactions through cell phones and simplify the customer experience when they do their operations online.
Although the market is dominated by big players in this area, a number of startups have emerged that are trying to gain a foothold in this industry.
Who are these opportunities for?
According to Opertti, they are opportunities for companies of any size, but they require having a level of knowledge of how the market where they want to develop works.
It is not enough to have an idea that sounds innovative. To create a digital services company, she explains, you must have clearly identified. a demand in a specific market, the product or service you want to develop must have been tested in practice and be part of a trend.
An opportunity is to sell services associated with a product.
In this pandemic context, “getting financing is a challenge,” he points out.
“The basic thing is to identify a market niche that is not sufficiently attended ”.
There are opportunities in the development of digital products or services related to distance education, food or medical supplies, says Opertti, but you have to find a very specific need.
Another important thing is that next to a good, a product, there is usually a associated service.
“Chile exports copper, but also exports engineering services associated with the mining sector,” says the expert.
Opertti says that proof that digital services in the region are accelerating its growth is what has just happened at the “Outsource2LAC Virtual 2020 Week” digital services entrepreneurs event where, despite the pandemic, 200 companies managed to close businesses through virtual contacts.