Economic impact of COVID-19 and how tech can help

We’re here to help you navigate uncertainties

by The AT&T Business Editorial Team

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the way business is being conducted worldwide, and the effects are having a growing impact on the global economy. Schools, hotels, churches, and non-essential retail businesses are closed. Public transportation has cut services. Retail trade has been suspended, except for essential goods, banking, financial, and insurance services. And restaurants are conducting services as take-out or delivery only. (Source: GlobalData, “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Executive Briefing,” pgs. 5, 7, 30.)

The United States’ GPD growth for 2020 is estimated to be -4.1% but could change even further as major markets remain volatile. (Ibid., pgs. 26, 25.) The Federal Reserve reports millions of American jobs are already lost and estimates unemployment to reach a high of 32.1%. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has cut its global growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.9%, warning it could fall to 1.5%. (Ibid., pgs. 28, 29.)

We know having a perspective on the evolving situation for your specific sector is vital. This article reviews the current economic impact with data reported by GlobalData in, “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Executive Briefing.”

Initial impacts of COVID-19 by sector

“Banks that have fully integrated agile working (methods) and implemented digital customer service platforms that integrate voice, co-browsing, and messaging will be best placed to handle rapid changes in consumer behavior,” reports GlobalData (pg. 37). Many banking institutions are setting up mini call center hubs for branches that have been forced to close to handle the increase in customer calls. (Ibid., pg. 43.)

Advice: For financial institutions that need to support the increase in customer calls, implementing soft client technology that can run on mobile devices and laptops to more accurately label outgoing calls for caller ID, and redirect calls to more centralized support centers can help.

GlobalData reports (pg. 61), “The COVID-19 outbreak will push pharma and healthcare overall to adopt virtual approaches not only in the short term but also as part of their long-term strategy. These include virtual conferences, meetings, and medical appointments (telehealth) via phone or video.”

Advice: By providing remote workers with enhanced collaboration tools and highly reliable mobile connections, healthcare teams can group text, send alerts, conduct video and audio conference calls, and share files remotely. 

According to GlobalData, “Global logistics are being disrupted by the availability of staff, ingredients, and materials.” (Ibid., pg. 46.) Food retailers have struggled with increased demand for home delivery. Grocery shopping online has become vital across the globe. However, poor courier availability when delivery times are oversaturated leads some consumers to use online grocery shopping much less. (Ibid., pg. 63.)

Advice: Software-defined networking (SDN) and virtualization technologies can enable retailers to dial up bandwidth on demand to multiple sites when needed to help with increased traffic and other network-related stress. These solutions will help with applications such as line queuing and visual inventory to inform customers on wait times and product availability.

Companies are turning to alternative, often more local (or national) solutions for both supply and contract manufacturing according to GlobalData (pg. 46). Companies are re-evaluating their own supply chains and operations and focusing on more national or local level supply. (Ibid., pg. 56)

Advice: Manufacturing and supply chain businesses can maintain flexible infrastructures with SDN and get robust visibility into supply chain operations with Fleet Management for Enterprise solutions with asset tracking.

We are committed to serving you
This is just a small snapshot of the current economic impacts playing out during the COVID-19 pandemic. The work we do is critical to millions of people and companies around the world, and we’re committed to being there with practical solutions when our customers and colleagues need us most.

If you’d like to know more information about how we’re responding to economic changes, how our network is performing, or our business continuity plans, please visit Our Response page.