Every morning a middle-aged couple walks by my house at precisely 7:15 AM. They don’t miss a day, and they are always on time (you can set your watch to it). Before the pandemic began last March, I had never seen them before. Recently, I’ve begun to wonder: after the pandemic is over, will I ever see them again?
The pandemic has completely changed our way of life. With the vaccine rollout ahead of schedule, it’s worth asking, how many of these changes will be permanent – and which of the survivors could develop into profitable investments?
Here are some investment themes that have gained notoriety during the pandemic:
- Telemedicine – Global X Telemedicine & Digital Health ETF (Symbol: EDOC), launched in July 2020
- Online Food Delivery – DoorDash (DASH), IPO in December 2020
- Video Games – Roblox (RBLX), IPO in March 2021
- Work from Home – Direxion Work From Home ETF (WFH), launched in June 2020
- Staying Home – Restoration Hardware (RH), Home Depot (HD), and Netflix (NFLX)
- Online Shopping – ProShares Online Retail ETF (ONLN)
To us, the trends with likely staying power are those that have had a lasting positive impact on our quality of life. For instance, will most people still prefer eating a cold meal via DoorDash versus going out to a restaurant? We think food delivery sales are likely to fall post-pandemic. Will parents still let their kids play hours and hours of video games when they return to school full-time? Again, we think the pandemic-fueled surge in video game sales will prove transitory.
Conversely, Telemedicine may be here to stay. Already a trend taking hold pre-pandemic, telemedicine expands access to timely medical advice at often discounted prices. The pandemic likely accelerated its already promising future. We think that’s the case for online shopping as well, where the convenience of skipping the stores (and the lines) will still be highly coveted post-pandemic.
Times of crisis are also times of opportunity. Now is the time to plan for a post-pandemic world.