Podcast Series: Thriving in the Face of Coronavirus



Undeniably the lockdown has been tough and relentless in many ways, from learning to cope with one’s own company in larger than normal doses or spending much more time in the company of the family that we have never been closer to. We have lost the ability to take ourselves off to a quiet place at times of stress and we no longer have the excuse of meetings to keep us out of the house  the way we used to. 

We are growing tired of ourselves and tired of each other as we navigate this strange and treacherous territory that we didn’t envisage and can’t wait to see the back of. But whilst there may have been real challenges on an individual scale, many organisations have not suffered during the lockdown. A number of companies have not had to furlough employees, have a full workforce of engaged and committed staff who have worked hard to fulfil customer orders and client demands. 

Here at Princedale our clients span a great variety of commerce from fintech, to health & well-being, FMCG, retail, travel, financial services & media. We were pleased to discover that a number of our clients are not just surviving but thriving in the face of the pandemic and we wanted to find out more about why that is and what other brands can do to replicate the successes that have been seen, if indeed this is possible.  

We like to focus on success and over the coming weeks we will be bringing you a series of articles that we’ve created in collaboration with our clients that give insights into the achievements made, so that you might be able to learn in what we know are challenging times for most. But today, as an introduction, we are going to talk broadly about the sectors that we know are thriving:

 1.)  Beauty & Fashion

We are proud to have been commissioned by clients including Boohoo, Zalando, the BodyShop, Boots & Holland & Barrett and we have it on good authority that some companies in this sector have not suffered too terribly over the last three months as people strive to look and feel good despite the lack of opportunity to really show themselves off. An article by referrals business Mention Me states that in recent times ‘On average, sales for beauty skincare brands have increased by 37% year-on-year. Referrals have increased by 64%.’ Online fashion business Boohoo stated in an article with the BBC that sales of joggers, hoodies and tops have increased as people increasingly want to look good on Zoom calls but not break the bank. As a result Boohoo has seen a year on year increase in sales during April and they have just gone on the acqusition trail buying up other brands.

2.) Fitness

In an article with Sky News in May the UK bike industry said sales have surged as commuters try to find their own isolated way of travelling to work. Although it is too early for industry-wide figures Halfords, which sells around a quarter of UK bicycles, says it has seen sales soar as people take advantage of cycle to work schemes. Brompton bikes has also seen a spike in orders. Health and fitness apps and courses are experiencing high demand as people use the time they have available to focus on getting body beautiful. 

2.) FMCG & supermarkets

Whilst flour brands have seen their sales soar in recent months due to a combination of hoarding and intense at home baking, other brands we work with like Coca Cola and Morrisons have not been too negatively affected by coronavirus. People’s eating and drinking habits have remained mainly consistent during the lockdown just acquired through different channel mixes. That said some have increased their alcohol consumption as a means of coping with boredom and stress so a number of online delivery companies have seen their sales soar along with the likes of Deliveroo and Ocado and the other online arms of supermarkets. Some retailers have said they’ve been busier than their typical pre christmas peak, albeit profitable revenues tend to be generated in store and less so online.

3.) Gifting

Isolating is hard for most of us and gifting is a wonderful way to show friends and loved ones in self isolation that they are in our thoughts. One of our clients Photobox is a company that has not been negatively impacted by the lockdown because people are taking the extra time at their disposal to finally create those friends and family albums that have been on the back burner for some time. Online flower delivery like Bloom & Wild and Freddie’s Flowers increased dramatically around the time of mother’s day because loved ones were pining for their mothers for this important day of the year.

4.) Media & Entertainment 

Our client Sky, or Netflix, or, well, you name it, the entertainment industry is seeing a boom in demand that is otherwise only seen at Christmas. Netflix has realised an increase of 16 million sales with almost twice as many people creating accounts in the first three months of this year versus the final months of 2019. The company is struggling with the fact that lockdown has halted the production of new content for a short period of time. However if it manages to retain the new customers it has won as people grow bored of being indoors then coronavirus will have offered a boost to a tech organisation with a business model that is perfect fit for being housebound. 

5.) Sextoy Companies

Valued by the Guardian at $30bn worldwide and predicted to grow at a rate of 30% year on year, the sex-tech industry as it is sometimes known has experienced no adverse affects of coronavirus. In fact it is thriving and has experienced huge surges in demand over recent months which is good news for our client LoveHoney, one of the top players in the global ecommerce sex toy industry. The sex-tech industry is careful to ensure it is always ahead of the game and meeting the latest demands which we’re told include items from vegan condoms to erotic audio apps! Companies like Lovehoney are also fortunate as the products they sell are not always the products that customers want stored in their Amazon family account. 

After three months of disarray, it’s comforting to know that it’s not all doom and gloom in the business world. Some companies really are making inroads in these challenging times and there’s no doubt that there is a huge opportunity to capitalise for many. Keep your eyes peeled for our series of Executive Insight articles that will shine a light on some of the best British and international companies on the scene right now through interviews with some of the top digital leaders in our space.

Get in touch to discover how we can help you find and appoint key leadership needs or help you build your digital talent pipeline for the future: Rupert@princedalepartners.com / 07926 186 549


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