A Look Back at 2020 Business Growth in America

2020 on a piece of paper coming out of a typewrite

It is the time of year when you begin to look back on all the growth that you have endured in the last year. You can begin to reflect and notice all the growing pains along the way, as well as the successes that came from trial and error. 

We recognize that 2020 has taken its toll on us as individuals, as businesses, and as a country. However, the year wasn't entirely terrible, and many businesses throughout America have succumbed to numerous challenges and altered their business model in order to evolve with the changing times.

Whether it was the COVID-19 pandemic, the drawn-out presidential race, or the wildfires in California, we have all endured a lot in 2020, and we look forward to seeing what 2021 has in store. For now, let's take a look back at 2020 and the significant trends that originated or got a boost as a result of the challenging year that is now behind us. 

Working From Home

One of the most positive evolutions that came from the global pandemic, is the increase in working from home professionals. This not only eliminated an immense amount of commuting, but it also increased productivity. You read that right, it did not take businesses long to recognize that a lot of time at the office was wasted in unnecessary meetings, office politics, and the constant urge to watch the clock or gossip with co-workers. 

For many businesses, the new work from home business model meant that leaders had to learn to trust their employees, without having to be under the same roof. Last but not least, it helped many business owners downsize their office size and reduce office expenses. 

Transportation Industry

With work from home policies becoming the new normal, many people stopped commuting to work, and the average number of miles driven decreased by 13,476 miles (21,687.52 km) in the United States alone. This explains why we saw the biggest secular decline in the United States automotive industry in recent history. 

Additionally, it eased pressure on our infrastructure. There was no longer a need to expand roads and bridges, and the United States started looking more like a developed country. 

Housing Industry

Before 2020 began, we noticed that millennials had already started to question homeownership as a cornerstone of the “American Dream.” However, with increased adoption of work from home, the need for more space and increased privacy became clear. 

Americans began to search for homes with home offices, as well as more space and land to accommodate a family. As we enter 2021, it will be fascinating to see what will happen to the housing market and if more and more millennials will choose to invest in long-term housing, rather than rental properties. 

Telemedicine Industry

This industry ultimately boomed due to the coronavirus. It became a necessity when routine doctor visits were no longer the same, and it did not take long for both patients and medical professionals to appreciate the efficiencies and safety of telemedicine consultations for the majority of ailments. 

We can expect this trend to continue at a combined annual growth rate of 15.1% between 2020 and 2027, with additional availability and adoption of home-use diagnostic gadgets and apps that are capable of tracking data like medical-grade ECG, blood pressure, sugar levels, heart and lung sound, and more. 

This specific trend in the telemedicine industry had a material impact on the cost of healthcare for facilities and consumers. In addition, it drove increased acceptance of cash-patients for routine checkups and minor ailments. 

Handshakes and High-Fives

As the global pandemic unfolded, handshakes became prime suspects in the spread of the virus. Handshakes started as a way to determine if the other person was armed and dangerous or not, but later became a global form of greeting. Little did we know, that 2020 would throw out that custom altogether. 

With handshakes being effected, it is obvious that giving a friend or family member a high-five would never be the same again. High-fives were quickly replaced with elbow bumps and namaste became the preferred greeting throughout the world. Our way of interacting with each other in both professional and personal settings are forever changed, and it is still something that many of us are adjusting to. 

Although it may be difficult to notice the advantages of this alteration, a significant fringe benefit of this was an overall reduction in all communicable diseases throughout the world. 

Shopping and Entertainment Industry

Before 2020 began, many businesses were already well-established in the online retail sector. For example, businesses such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Flipkart were already successful with online-only sales and when the global pandemic arose, they were not nearly as worried as businesses that relied on in-person sales. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic did not only affect retail stores. It also had a huge impact on the entertainment industry, including businesses such as movie theaters and live entertainment venues. Online streaming became a bigger part of how people entertained themselves, and we saw streaming to TVs increase by 85% in the first three weeks of March 2020. 

Food Industry

At the start of the decade, veganism and vegetarianism were more than mere curiosities. However, we are predicting that more people throughout the world will become serious about reducing, if not entirely eliminating, animal proteins from their diets. These predictions come from the aftermath of the global pandemic, and the fear of another zoonotic pandemic. 

Although this can be seen as a negative to some, we must acknowledge the positive effects of a new and healthier diet. We noticed that cardiovascular diseases and obesity growth had slowed its trajectory that was established over 50 years ago. 

In addition, there was a significant benefit regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases and the easing of water shortages faced in many areas throughout America.