The aftereffects of COVID-19 will continue to be felt over the next decade, with changes in customers expectations, digital experiences, work, technology, and business resiliency altering business permanently, says a new report from market research firm Forrester.
Despite modern healthcare and the implementation of extensive pandemic management protocols, the effects of COVID-19 will cause profound near-, medium-, and long-term impacts, said the report titled "The New, Unstable Normal: How Covid-19 Will Change Business And Technology Forever."
"The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business. It has forced firms and policymakers to do things that were previously considered impossible," Stephanie Balaouras, VP and Group Director at Forrester, said in a statement.
"As a result, business leaders are quickly embracing new, iterative ways to engage with customers, adapting to new ways of working, investing in technology innovation, and revisiting their business resiliency plans for long-term success."
The research showed that the pandemic has affected global consumers in different ways, with their risk sensitivity and desire for convenience varying across region, age, and culture.
In the medium term, financial strain and lack of in-person group interaction will cause consumers to feel a lack of meaning and purpose. This will influence spending on trusted brands that connect them to a greater cause.
In the long term, consumers will opt for brands that offer the most control over buying experiences.
Secondly, businesses will ride the digital engagement wave to create hybrid experiences.
In the short term, as values-based consumers question the ethics of brands and as all experiences become digital in some way, new design practices will emerge that blend emotion and insights, said the report.
Moreover, the pandemic has revealed the ability to do things that once seemed infeasible, including shifting entire workforces to remote working.
Remote working will boost regions around global economic hubs in the medium term as firms shed more than a quarter of their city-centre office space, said the report.
Tech and business leaders that accelerate digital outputs -- by retiring technical debt -- will in the short term acquire a robust digital operating platform and the needed flexibility to overhaul business models.
In the long term, leaders will invest in enterprise risk management capabilities to better evaluate and respond to risk in real time, said the report.