Orange County Partnership - News

Not all Industries will be Hurt by Pandemic

Recently, commercial brokerage firm Colliers International studied the economy that is being severely impacted by COVID-19, but rather than review the plethora of sectors that will suffer hardship due to the pandemic, it listed 12 industries that it believes will thrive either in spite of or as a direct result of the virus.


Here are the top five growth industries according to Colliers.


The first two categories are no brainers for anyone involved in real estate—E-commerce retail and industrial real estate.


In its review of E-commerce retail, authors Brian Netzky, SIOR, is an executive vice president at Colliers based in Chicago, and Gregory Healy, senior vice president and leader of the brokerage firm’s Supply Chain Solutions team in the U.S. for Occupier Services, wrote: “Across the country and the globe, humans have been forced to use it for everything. The adoption rate in the United States has grown tremendously and will probably never retreat to pre-COVID levels. It is not just demographics like older Americans now moving to e-commerce as a necessity, it’s vertical, as in most Americans are all of a sudden buying verticals like groceries and consumer products online. This creates exponential growth and while it will pull back after quarantines, it will revert to a mean as consumers continue shopping online out of convenience in a post-COVID-19 world.”


The industrial real estate sector’s future growth will be tied in part at least to e-commerce retail and new projects should be significant in scope. “Typically, when we think about an e-commerce distribution facility, we calculate that they require about three times that of a typical business-to-business facility to accommodate more complex pick-pack systems and provide access to a greater variety of product,” the Colliers report noted.


Other trends/industries included in the top five were: augmented reality, robotics and 5G and the growth of bandwidth requirements.


While the nation is suffering from inflated unemployment numbers, the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus will cause some companies to invest in technology and robotics specifically.


The report notes that “high unemployment means an abundance of available workers, but working environments incorporating social distancing norms will require a transformation of the warehouse operations. Watch for these automated technologies to be adopted rapidly as employers look for low-cost, flexible automation solutions to replace humans wherever functionally possible.”


Speaking of 5G, the report predicts, “With more people working from home, the speed of our connections will be paramount to many of the growth sectors listed here. It can’t happen without faster connections and more homeowners are looking for opportunities to increase or accelerate their bandwidth as both parents and children are working and schooling from home.”


The other members of the growth dozen are: virtual meetings, online groceries and last-mile distribution centers, freezer and cooler supply chain, dark kitchens, reverse globalization, supply chain resilience and E-Learning.


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