Riding The Wave: How The Pandemic Further Accelerated The Shift Of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has been ongoing for several years, but the pandemic has only served to speed this process up.


What's changed?

The world has been becoming more and more digital for years. Ten years ago Netflix had just over ten per cent of its current number of subscribers, and had only just become more of a streaming service than a video rental company. Instagram and Snapchat had only just launched, and TikTok was still five years away. Most people continued to spend their time and money offline. 

Since then, digital transformation has caused a huge amount of our lives to move online. It should come as no surprise to hear that the COVID-19 pandemic has sped this process up. For most of 2020 huge numbers of people have needed to stay indoors, while shops and other workplaces have closed. People and businesses have therefore needed to turn more towards digital solutions.

This has been most clearly seen in the rise of remote working, with the number of people performing their jobs from home in the UK rising from 26.5% in 2019 to 35.9% in 2020. However, there are plenty of other areas in which the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the world’s digital transformation.


Customers are interacting digitally

Retail has moved online rapidly due to the pandemic, although not as much as some might think. In the UK, ecommerce accounted for 34.7% of all retail sales in March 2021. That’s higher than before the pandemic, when this figure stood at 23.1 per cent. However, it shows that two-thirds of UK sales are still physical despite the move online.

In other areas, digital transformation has been more rapid. For example, 58% of customer interactions are now digital. McKinsey estimates this figure is three years ahead of what it would have been had the pandemic not happened. Similarly, the adoption of digital products and services is around seven years ahead of schedule.


Companies are becoming more aware of digital transformation

Of course, businesses and their directors are not just sitting back and letting all of this happen. Rapid digital transformation is changing a wide range of industries, and firms need to prepare to move with - or even direct - that change. Failing to do so can lead to you falling behind your competitors.

At the start of 2020, few sectors had digital transformation as a major focus. However, according to a survey from HCL, that has changed. The exact amount depends on the sector, but as an example, in 2020 only 24% of life sciences and healthcare firms considered digital transformation a priority. Now, that figure is 59%. The pandemic has clearly had a major impact on this area of business.


How do you ride the wave? 

This article has reflected that the digital transformation that has accelerated is not going to slow down anytime soon. What does this mean for you and your business? You have to be adaptable and focus on how these changes can benefit rather than seeing them as a stumbling block.

Companies need to make sure that their employees are equipped to deal with this shift especially when relating to remote working. It is likely that remote working could become the norm for many businesses in the future, therefore they need to have the correct procedures in place in order to enable this to happen as successfully as possible. This means that an investment in training might be applicable and important in order to this continuing change.

In more general terms, investment is key for being able to adapt to this recent digital transformation, whether that be creating an e-commerce platform, improving cyber security or even investing in a loyalty platform. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are equipped to handle these investments and that you have a plan to help you to ride this wave. 


We hope that this article has proved useful in assessing how the pandemic has accelerated the shift of digital transformation and what that can mean for you and your business.

If you want to read more about the impact of the pandemic on business, click here.



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Jack Rewcroft

Jack Rewcroft

Marketing Assistant

Jack was our Marketing Assistant. He helped with content creation including writing the blog posts you love to read!

Post Tags

Consumer Trends
Digital Transformation
Digital Strategy
WLL Insight