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Online gambling & Netflix: what industries grew during the lockdowns?

Businesses and industries all over the world have been impacted by the lockdowns initiated to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Some reports claim, London-based businesses have been hit the hardest. However, despite hundreds of businesses hurting, some are blooming.

We’re not talking about the personal protective equipment. Manufacturers of masks and hand sanitizers are obviously turning a huge profit right now, but there are other industries that do well.

Most of them are not local but based on the web, making the impact of lockdowns minimal, and with people under the lockdown order flocking online, these businesses are booming.

Here are the top five industries that are growing despite the current crisis.

Video streaming services

The industry that arguably grew the most since the start o the pandemic in early 2020 is the video streaming services industry, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and many others.

Even though the rise of Netflix happened long before 2020, last year firmly cemented the industry as a whole as one of the biggest entertainment sources.

The initial lockdown orders of 2020 put plenty of people in a position where they were not able to leave their homes for weeks.

While rather depressing in its nature, this created a perfect atmosphere that allowed millions of bored people who sought entertainment online.

As of early 2020, 16 million people created Netflix accounts, almost double the numbers in late 2019 so it’s no wonder Netflix hit $23 billion in profits for the last 12 months, outgrowing the 2019 numbers.

However, despite doing very well during the crisis, its growth wasn’t untouched either. Video streaming services like Netflix are dependent on exclusive hit series, with Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why being prime examples.

The pandemic put most activities on hold and filming wasn’t spared which means most hit series that were driving the viewership were paused which certainly didn’t help the streaming giants.

Video games

Another medium of entertainment that people are seeking during 2020 lockdowns is video games.

Back when video games were starting out they were seen as a kids’ toy or even a geeky thing that most people wouldn’t appreciate. Now that the first generation of gamers have grown up, the market for video games includes all ages and walks of life.

Perhaps because this media involves a level of interaction higher than passively sitting on a couch while binge-watching Netflix, it is now gathering new fans.

As of March 2020, the month when worldwide lockdowns started being implemented, Sony has sold over 1.5 million consoles, more than in the previous quarter.

Steam sales also grew, painting a perfect picture of how the national lockdowns occurred. The sales grew in March, falling during the summer when restrictions were much lighter, and then rose sharply in September when they got tougher.

Online gambling

As many gambling parlours in the UK were closed due to social distancing rules, avid British gamblers turned their attention to online casinos.

These sites that provide a platform for online betting and gambling have been around for decades and have been growing in popularity steadily. However, it was the 2020 lockdown that increased the audience significantly.

Having the opportunity to try their luck at a collection of pokies that are the same you can find at a regular gambling parlour is not the only allure of online casinos. One of the major attractions is having the ability to socialize in a chatroom of a live casino.

There isn’t much data to showcase as the gambling industry is rather secretive about the exact numbers, but the best RTG casino in Australia, Golden Reels, reported a 120% increase in user base over the previous quarter.

Video communication apps

While video streaming services were a great way to binge through a boring year, most non-essential workers under lockdown orders have had to continue working.

Many aspects of the modern workspace already don’t involve being present in the office — programming, writing, reaching out as a sales rep, and updating a spreadsheet can be done with a laptop and cup of coffee in the comfort of your home.

The most important aspect of the office routine, however, communication between the team members, requires seeing each other at a meeting. You can solve most small issues via email, but weekly planning or brainstorming does require live group interaction.

Here’s where video chats step in. Apps like Zoom, Skype, and dozens of alternatives that popped up in 2020 have been instrumental in keeping the economy going despite social distancing.

In March of last year, Skype grew its user base by 70%. Zoom followed suit with 200 million daily users in March and shares rapidly growing the same month.

Education industry

Binge-watching another show on Netflix isn’t the only thing people are doing while stuck at their homes.

Another industry that saw significant growth during lockdowns is online education. With millions of people having a lot of free time on their hands and a fear of losing a job in the coming months, many decide to educate themselves.

Online education platforms have been around for years, but 2020 has been a major breakthrough.

Since going to a college or a university to up your skills isn’t an option, people seeking additional education turn to online classes en masse.

In the first months of 2020, major companies that provide a platform for students and teachers saw a surge in subscriptions.

Skillshare grew to 12 million subscribers (from 5 million in 2018) and gathered $60 million in funding, Udemy had a 475% increase in subscribers within one month.

Finishing thoughts

This year has been a devastating one for many people, companies, and economies.

However, it has also shown that thanks to technology and the human spirit, we’re able to overcome the hardships of any crisis. These five industries serve as direct evidence of that.

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