At this point, saying Covid-19 has really impacted how we do things is turning out to be such a cliché. As are related phrases that have been spawned or gained traction as a result of the global health pandemic.
Some are established terms like “lockdown”, “quarantine”, and “pandemic”. Others, like “key workers”, have been around for some time, although they’ve taken on new definitions that have seen us begin to use them all of a sudden. The overused “new normal” must also fall into that category.
In other words, it’s remarkable the impact the novel coronavirus has had in our daily lives during the short but treacherous few months it’s been with us.
With such a wide-ranging effect, it is no surprise then to know that businesses across the divide have been affected in one way or another by Covid-19. And we’re not talking about the airline and hospitality industry.
The Fall of the Physical Storefront and Rise of Digital
Lifestyle businesses – in which category falls the vape industry – has also not been spared.
The closure of brick-and-mortar stores in 2020 meant business on the physical front suffered. The drop in the number of walk-in customers – or rather a complete lack of walk-in customers at some point – saw many businesses not just in the vape industry shut up shop for good as the world retreated indoors and outdoor activity reduced to a level most of us have not witnessed in our lifetime.
Those that remained were forced to adapt in response to the prevailing circumstances if they were to survive.
Now, one market segment that has greatly benefited from Covid-19 has been e-commerce.
As social distancing (look, another coronavirus term!) became commonplace and we sought to minimise interaction with the outside world, most people turned to online platforms for their shopping needs.
The unique thing about the vape sector is that online shopping was not only already established, but also a preferred method of sourcing supplies for a good number of vapers.
Online vape businesses like British vape manufacturer AquaVape were running the majority of their operations through e-commerce stores.
Of course, they too were affected by the dip in foot traffic in large stores that remained open where they had already set up digital vape product display screens, becoming the first company in the UK to set up vape touchscreens.
For the most part, however, a large percentage of their sales came from online sources.
As company balance sheets reeled from the disastrous effects of Covid-19, established online-based vape businesses like AquaVape and others like them have enjoyed an unprecedented boom in sales.
Of course, it is not difficult to see why, especially when you look at the performance of e-commerce stocks the world over: as others tanked, the e-commerce sector witnessed a boom.
It’s not clear how long the rally will go on for, but one trend that looks set to remain with us for good long after the coronavirus is online shopping.
Make no mistake, the world was gradually headed digital, complete with digital payment systems and currencies that can be said to be slowly phasing out hard currency. What Covid-19 has managed to do, however, is accelerate that transition.
Here to Stay?
Obviously, the experience of walking into a shop is one many of us miss from time to time, but we also cannot ignore the fact that we are doing more of our shopping online than we used to before the outbreak.
Few industries have managed to cash in on the changing market patterns instigated by the global health pandemic than the e-cigarette industry, considered one of the fastest growing sectors in the world.
And with most sales now happening on the digital front, suffice to say that this looks set to be the, er, new normal for the vaping industry, pardon the cliché.