Whilst the pandemic has been crippling to many businesses, there are a lot of tech companies that have thrived in the last year, helping people to work remotely, pass time, or keep their information secure.
Video conferencing platform Zoom saw growth of users by more than 2,000% in the last year. Although the company has been trading since 2011, the video meeting tool became the most popular and well-known during the pandemic, connecting businesses, families, and friends looking to speak and catch up during the multiple lockdowns.
New types of online video socials emerged including Zoom quizzes, escape rooms, and happy hours. In the last year, Zoom truly became a company and brand recognized by all.
Other competitors in the space also grew from the boost in video conferencing, including the likes of Whereby and Microsoft Teams.
With households cooped up on the couch, unsurprisingly, streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Netflix saw significant growth in users during the pandemic, with Netflix in particular gaining an extra 12 million users in the last year.
A study by Ofcom in 2020 showed that the average person in lockdown was spending 40% of their time in front of a screen and Netflix was there to fill the void, whilst friends were discussing their favorite shows on social media.
FX and Trading
With people working remotely, on furlough, or waiting for new job opportunities, more and more started to dabble in the world of FX and online trading, using the likes of eToro and IG.
Some people started learning themselves, using the free versions of the trading platforms, or via watching Youtube videos.
There were a few notable investment opportunities that saw both amateur and professional traders win big, including the 170% growth in Bitcoin in the last year, the rising share price of Tesla, and the hype surrounding GameStop.
Online gaming increased on average by 1.5 hours from 2019 compared to 2020. An Ipsos MORI report conducted in late 2020 found that 14% of players claimed to have discovered new video games, with 30% confirming that video gaming helped them to feel less isolated, especially with the opportunity to interact and speak with new players.
Gaming fell once lockdown restrictions were lifted in the British summer of 2020, indicating that people were wanting to spend more time in-person socializing and outdoors, as opposed to being in front of a screen.
Loans and Insurance
The pandemic certainly brought about financial uncertainty. Whilst the UK Government’s furlough scheme and the USA’s stimulus checks helped to fill the void, many households are still left in a tough financial position or uncertain of their future employment. Hence, there has been a rise in Google search queries for things such as business interruption loans, business relief loans, and payday loans near me for those looking for a few hundred pounds or dollars.
The insurance industry has also been very busy, with consumers looking to get better deals on their car insurance if they are driving less. Plus, you have homeowners taking a very serious review of their health and life insurance policies, thinking about their family’s financial future more so than before.
With millions of holidays and travel plans canceled, the travel insurance companies have certainly been busy trying to offer refunds or defer payments without going into the black.
From cooking, spanish to web design, some people have embraced the opportunity to learn new skills through online courses. Whether through the likes of Coursera, Udemy or just Youtube, the role of eLearning and online courses has certainly grown in the last year.
The role of remote working has given rise to cyber attacks every 11 seconds, costing the global economy $6.1 trillion every year, according to cyber security experts, including Jumpsec.
For people working from home, playing video games or streaming, the use of VPNs is another tech industry that has surged in lockdown.
A VPN is a virtual private network that allows you to surf the internet on a private server, rather than your own broadband, keeping your data encrypted and private.
Certainly for businesses and people working remotely, a VPN is vital to keep important data secure, especially if they will not have the IT security infrastructure that comes with their employer.