Our economy is constantly being influenced by numerous factors. Although these variables are continually changing, one of the biggest impacts this year has been the COVID-19 global pandemic. Both directly and indirectly, it has had a major influence on our day-to-day activities, on our lives at home, our budgets, and on large and small businesses. It has set a precedent for how we think about our jobs, investments and what we regard as being recession-proof industries.
Recessions are not new phenomena. Canada is currently in a recession, which has been driven by the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. When examining uncertain times, where money and opportunities could be limited, it is important to know which areas of the economy will be able to weather the storm of a recession and the challenges that it brings. However, even allowing for the additional stress and uncertainty of COVID-19, it is still possible to assess industries that will remain resilient despite such difficult times.
When looking at the impact of a global pandemic combined with a recession, it is clear that, under all circumstances, healthcare remains essential to our economy. Frontline workers are facing the brunt of the COVID-19 effects, while trying to keep everyone safe and healthy (simultaneously navigating new information and processes). The healthcare system benefits from covering many different services under its umbrella. Not only does it include such things as hospitals, clinics, family doctors and long-term care homes, but it also benefits consistently from the demand for essential pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Like other industries that had to pivot during COVID-19, healthcare is embracing and navigating this change, including telemedicine, with easily accessible Canadian options such as Rocket Doctor and Maple.ca. Even when spending is limited by a recession, money will continue to be spent on healthcare.
Discount and Consignment Stores
Being aware of your budget and maximizing what you can save during a recession is key. Discount stores offer a wide variety of products, from household items to food and drink. Many consumers may have to adjust their budgets and discount stores help significantly by having a positive impact on their bank accounts. Consignment stores can also be greatly beneficial as price points for products are much lower than at regular retail stores, allowing for spending on both essential and non-essential items while staying within a budget.
Gone are the days when going to a pharmacy meant that you could only fill a prescription and purchase very few items; nowadays, most pharmacies offer a wide variety of products. As an essential service, they will continue to stay open and thrive in a recession, especially since many consumers rely on them for potentially life-saving medications. As mentioned with healthcare, pharmacies are also fairly recession-proof, not only through filling prescriptions but also by acting as a vital component of public health services, including providing vaccinations. The pharmaceutical industry will continue to invest in research that will lead to long-term gains and will play a vital part in moving the economy through this recession.
Groceries are a staple—unlike restaurants, which have been heavily hit by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Supply and demand for groceries will continue to stay strong, even amid economic uncertainty, particularly when restaurants are not an option. Consumers also have the benefit of a wide variety of grocery-store options, from lower-end discount chains to high-end gourmet grocery choices. Many third-party delivery services are also connected to these grocery stores, making access even easier for consumers and even more profitable for the stores.
Home and Office Renovations
Staying home has become a new reality for many, and as a result, home renovations and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are on the rise. This can mean simple repairs around the house, a new home office space, or a major renovation that pre-COVID-19 would have involved hiring outside companies. With so many people taking on these tasks, home renovation and hardware stores are busy and doing well. Once thought to be more of a luxury, the pandemic has shown that certain industries, including house repairs and renovations, are potentially more recession-proof than previously thought.
During the current recession, individuals and companies are less likely to spend money on brand-new vehicles and are instead focusing on ways they can service, maintain, and extend the longevity of their current transportation options. A new vehicle is a major commitment and with the uncertainty that comes with a recession, it’s one that many would prefer to avoid. These circumstances benefit the automotive repair industry, which can help in keeping older vehicles on the road through routine maintenance and repair. The demand for these services will likely increase during difficult times.
Whether a person works in a high-rise condo in the middle of a major city, an office, or a house in the suburbs, there’s still the universal need for energy. Electricity, gas, water, and even phones are an essential part of day-to-day life, regardless of the state of the economy. Utility companies are a recession-proof industry that will continue to operate, even as the physical location of where work is taking place continues to shift and evolve.
Alcoholic Beverage Industry
Due to COVID-19, we may have been unable to go inside our local bar to enjoy a drink with friends. However, the alcoholic beverage industry has made up for this, to a large extent, by increased sales for home consumption. Wine, liquor and beer sales continue to do well, even as other industries struggle. Hopefully, this success is another sign that we are making progress in navigating through this recession. Cheers to that!
With the restrictions of a global pandemic, our “new normal” involves a lot of screen time using computers, tablets and smart phones. Whether it’s a boardroom meeting, updating your computer systems to be able to effectively work from home, or helping a child with online classes, the use of technology is a daily necessity. You may not be an expert (yet), but as technological needs continue to adapt and change, you can start to have a better understanding of various aspects of technology, including coding, with such options as LinkedIn Learning courses. Every little bit helps when our hours in front of a screen are continually on the rise.
Thankfully for our pets, the importance of taking care of our furry friends has continued. Animal rescue organisations and local humane societies have seen an increase in adoptions from those interested in finding animals their new forever homes. Pet stores for daily supplies such as food (and maybe a new toy or two) are continuing to run throughout the pandemic. Working from home can have its own unique challenges, but your companion certainly isn’t complaining about having you around more.
Stephanie Hawkins | Contributing Writer