COVID-19: Implications for business

Author : rendymals
Publish Date : 2021-04-01


COVID-19: Implications for business

Consumer behavior has changed: it’s a truism of COVID-19 analysis. What’s missing is a sense of what behaviors have changed for good and what are likely to revert to prepandemic norms. A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute offers a view: e-grocery shopping is here to stay, while remote learning for primary grades could be headed for the dustbin of history. We devised a “stickiness” index (or, if we’re being academic, a gauge of behavior plasticity) to assess all the big shifts of 2020 (exhibit).
This week, we spoke with two prominent executives about what’s stuck with them from their pandemic experience. Chris Kempczinski, CEO of McDonald’s, spoke with senior partner Greg Kelly about how the company has worked hard to stay relevant. For a restaurant chain in the crisis, that means excelling at delivery; McDonald’s expanded the number of its locations offering delivery to more than 30,000. Leena Nair, chief human-resources officer of Unilever, shared her strategies for caring about 150,000 employees with senior partner Mary Meaney and executive editor Astrid Sandoval. For those in the workforce wondering when 2020’s pace of work might relent, here’s one encouraging sign: Nair says, “This speed is unsustainable.”

Also this week, our industry researchers examined the potential for Vietnam to rebuild tourism, the ecosystem opportunity for mobility companies, and the pleasant surprises B2B companies have discovered as they adapted to online sales.

Finally, in the pandemic, many of us have spent more time with our children than we used to, and we’ve learned from them. In our new edition of McKinsey for Kids, we attempt to return the favor by taking a look at the food distribution system and food waste. Please share it with your young people, and let us know what they think.

Business leaders crave new perspectives. Check out our series of Author Talks, which features the writers of the best new business books. This week’s additions to the series include Gregory B. Fairchild on the next frontier in racial equality and Nicolai Tillisch on how to frame ambition (and not let it frame you). For more perspectives, please see the full collection of our coronavirus-related content, visual insights from our “chart of the day,” a curated collection of our first 100 articles related to the coronavirus, our suite of tools to help leaders respond to the pandemic, and how our editors choose images that help readers visualize the impact of an invisible threat.
The future usually arrives in an orderly fashion. But for consumer goods and retail, a year like no other meant that the future showed up early, and in an ugly mood. In March 2020, COVID-19 shut down retail locations across the world, forcing consumers to change their buying behaviors, and as a consequence, these two sectors may never be the same again.

Two new reports look at the changes wrought by COVID-19 in the United States and assess their long-term effects. In consumer goods, we examine four effects on demand and costs. Demand has proved highly variable and may remain so for some time; company performance has been all over the map, even within the same category; growth soared in 2020, and large companies captured a big chunk of it (exhibit); and most costs will likely remain higher in 2021.
In retail, our research with the Retail Industry Leaders Association finds that success in a post-COVID-19 world will require hastened progress on four long-standing imperatives and three new strategies that will be increasingly critical in coming years. Consider one of the older yet still fundamental challenges: the shift to omnichannel, led by digital shopping. Our survey reveals that 65 percent of retailers base decisions about their store network on brick-and-mortar performance, without considering how changes might affect omnichannel. In a world where consumers pick their retailers based on digital offerings, that’s a recipe for irrelevance.

This week, the McKinsey Global Survey returned for its annual look at IT strategy. The pandemic made clear that the technology imperative is stronger than ever. One key finding: more than half of respondents said that technology transformations have lifted revenues, reduced costs, and improved employee experiences in the past two years.

Finally this week, new research in operations finds that “lighthouses”—leading-edge manufacturing sites—are demonstrating that the benefits of an infusion of digital can go beyond mere productivity to create a higher base for future growth. A new report from our organizational researchers examines how HR can build the organization of the future; our corporate-finance experts look at the state of corporate restructuring in Europe; and The McKinsey Podcast talks through what it will take to build a more resilient and responsive government.

With vaccinations underway, executives everywhere are thinking about the critical next months of the pandemic. Start with the McKinsey Download Hub to find McKinsey’s latest research, perspectives, and insights on the management issues that matter most, from leading through the COVID-19 crisis to managing risk and digitizing operations. Also consider our special collection of reports on the next normal, which are a product of Our New Future, a multimedia series we created with CNBC. Our report collection includes a 172-page report on technology and data transformation, a 130-page report on the path to true transformation, a 206-page report on reimagining the postpandemic organization, a 157-page report on the challenge of climate change, and a 202-page report on reimagining operational resilience.

You can also see the full collection of our coronavirus-related content, visual insights from our “chart of the day,” a curated collection of our first 100 articles related to the coronavirus, our suite of tools to help leaders respond to the pandemic, and how our editors choose images that help readers visualize the impact of an invisible threat.
Here’s one of the more intriguing statistics from last year’s Women in the Workplace research: 77 percent of men think they share the load at home equally with their partners, while just 40 percent of women agree. Sounds like the guys have some “splainin” to do. Given that imbalance, and the enormous burden (three hours a day, or more) that COVID-19 has added to women’s workload, it may be less surprising that one-quarter of women in corporate America are thinking about leaving. Senior partners Alexis Krivkovich and Lareina Yee dig into the details, in the latest edition of The McKinsey Podcast. And our salute to International Women’s Day charts the impact to date and hints at the way forward.

This week, McKinsey’s Inside the Strategy Room podcast looked at a different kind of exit: the shift that companies need to make as COVID-19 fades and the next normal takes hold. Senior partner Martin Hirt and partner Anna Koivuniemi explain how, with all signs pointing toward a significant, possibly historic economic rebound, companies need to pull out all the stops. Our research shows that outperformers seek growth in every dimension: core expansion, geographic, up and down the value chain, and in adjacent spaces.

Regarding that rebound: stock markets seem to have embraced the possibilities. Our latest capital-markets research reviews the four acts of the 2020 stock-market drama (interactive). What comes next is anybody’s guess. But the “Mega 25,” which reeled in 40 percent of total public market gains in 2020, will have much to say about future developments.
Also this week, our industry researchers investigated the potential for incumbent telcos to unleash digital attackers and surveyed consumers on all things mobility: autos, both gas and electric powered; trucks; and autonomous vehicles.

With vaccinations underway, executives everywhere are thinking about the critical next months of the pandemic. Start with the McKinsey Download Hub to find McKinsey’s latest research, perspectives, and insights on the management issues that matter most, from leading through the COVID-19 crisis to managing risk and digitizing operations. Also consider our special collection of reports on the next normal, which are a product of Our New Future, a multimedia series we created with CNBC. Our report collection includes a 172-page report on technology and data transformation, a 130-page report on the path to true transformation, a 206-page report on reimagining the postpandemic organization, a 157-page report on the challenge of climate change, and a 202-page report on reimagining operational resilience.

You can also see the full collection of our coronavirus-related content, visual insights from our “chart of the day,” a curated collection of our first 100 articles related to the coronavirus, our suite of tools to help leaders respond to the pandemic, and how our editors choose images that help readers visualize the impact of an invisible threat.

This briefing note was edited by Mark Staples, an executive editor in the New York office
Although teachers around the world have different styles and standards for learning, there is one thing on which they seem to agree: a computer is no match for a classroom as a place for kids to learn. We asked teachers in eight countries to rate the effectiveness of remote learning between March and July of 2020. They gave it an average score of five out of ten (Exhibit 1). The grades were especially harsh from teachers in Japan and the United States, where nearly 60 percent rated the effectiveness of remote learning at between one and three out of ten. That barely beats skipping school altogether. While the quality and support systems around remote learning have likely improved since then, this is still a striking indictment.
Reopening schools depends in part on COVID-19-vaccine development, manufacturing, and distribution. In our estimate, if all clinical trials succeed, and if manufacturing commitments to scale up production hold true, more than 14 billion doses could be produced by the end of the year (Exhibit 2). Since most vaccines require two shots, that’s enough to vaccinate nearly 80 percent of the global population.

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