Times are tough. Business is suffering… but not for every brand. Some are experiencing unprecedented demand due to coronavirus.
We wanted to shine a light on these brand heroes; the companies that have been able to step up to the plate to deliver truly useful products and services.
These are the brands helping us adapt to our new normal, that are making life better as we stay home and stay safe… and are flourishing as a result.
COVID-19: the brand heroes
Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats
Have you seen the viral video of the little girl wailing as she’s told she can’t go to Nandos and has to eat her mum’s cooking? It pretty much sums up how the nation is feeling right now, but thankfully we’ve still got food delivery services to bring us our favourite takeaways.
According to data from payment provider Barclaycard, the coronavirus outbreak triggered an almost immediate 8.7% growth for food delivery providers, with demand set to increase further following the introduction of tough new social distancing measures.
Deliveroo says it has registered almost 3,000 new UK restaurants on its platform in the past month. It’s supporting the restaurant sector by dropping onboarding fees for new restaurants. Both Deliveroo and Just Eat are helping to protect customers and delivery riders with new “contact-free” delivery features. Uber Eats, meanwhile, has announced free delivery for all independent restaurants and daily payments to help ease restaurants’ cash flow pressures.
Our own data illustrates the increased demand for food delivery; 35.5% of people working from home say they are ordering from Uber Eats more frequently and 18% have upped their usage of Deliveroo. Food delivery companies look set to get a further boost to business as they engage in talks with the UK government about delivering food and care packages to vulnerable people in isolation.
Houseparty and Zoom
How many requests have you received from friends to join them on Houseparty this past week? It’s the new night out.
AppAnnie now ranks Houseparty as the seventh most popular free app in the iOS App Store – but less than two weeks ago it was ranked at 304. Last week alone, Houseparty pulled in two million downloads worldwide.
The app is free to use so you might be wondering what benefit this surge in usage will provide for the company… but Houseparty has plans to monetise its audience through paid-for games and interest-based features.
Meanwhile, video conferencing platform Zoom has been embraced by workplaces, schools, clubs and groups of friends to facilitate face-to-face communication. Zoom now tops the app store charts and – while many others are crashing out of the stock market – the company’s shares have risen by 74%.
To make sure it can cope with the increased demand, Zoom has been beefing up its data centres and is one of the few businesses actually hiring new staff right now. It’s also offering free accounts with no cap on usage right now.
Netflix and Disney+
How do you stay entertained when you’re stuck at home? You turn to streaming platforms (yes, we’ve all binge-watched Tiger King too). According to our research, 74.5% of people working from home are using Netflix more than usual. And, in their thirst for content, people are also signing up to additional streaming platforms.
Disney+ has seen the biggest boom in new subscribers, with a tripling of its sign-up rate triggered by the announcement of school closures. Those numbers are likely to increase even further given that Disney+ has just become available in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria.
Netflix also saw a 47% increase in new subs – which is huge, considering the number of subscribers it already had (61 million in the US alone). On the other hand, Apple TV+ saw the lowest rise in new subscribers of any of the major streaming services; just 10%. Learn more about the nation’s most popular media subscriptions in our UK Subscription Economy Report 2020.
Peloton, ClassPass and Daily Burn
People who normally commute to work have suddenly found themselves with a whole lot of extra time on their hands. And many of them are using it to get fit. We ran a survey, which found that 31.6% of people are using the time they would usually spend commuting to exercise. This trend in increased physical activity is leading to growing demand for virtual fitness classes.
In the past week alone, Daily Burn says it’s seen a 268% year-over-year increase in membership signups. The digital-fitness-class provider has also seen increased interest from businesses wanting a group membership option for employees. It’s now rapidly trying to put one together alongside developing a family-oriented workout programme.
Peloton, which provides live-streamed workout classes for users of its exercise equipment, has seen shares surge 16%. Extending its free trial from the existing 30 days to 90 days is helping to get new users on board.
Meanwhile, ClassPass, which gives users access to classes at a network of real-life gyms and studios, is helping its partners to stay in business with a live streaming product. Partners can now offer virtual classes to subscribers – and enjoy 100% of revenue until June. Nice one, ClassPass.
HelloFresh, Blue Apron and Ocado
If you don’t fancy donning your face mask and gloves to brave the supermarket, you might prefer to have all the ingredients for a yummy dinner delivered directly to your doorstep. The meal kit category is said to be experiencing a big increase in demand.
The coronavirus crisis actually comes as a last-hour reprieve for Blue Apron, which has not made a profit since going public 2017 and only announced a facility closure in February. But as concerns about the outbreak grew in early March, Blue Apron’s stock shot up from $2.50 to $16.25. Now, the company is ramping up hiring efforts at fulfilment centres to meet the increased demand.
HelloFresh has also seen an increase in orders and reports that staff are “working around the clock to deliver boxes on time.” The company has announced plans to expand its workforce by 50% at its UK factory.
Meanwhile, upmarket grocery delivery service Ocado experienced such a surge in demand that it had to temporarily suspend new customer registrations. People were placed in a virtual queue of more than 10,000 shoppers. Ocado has chalked up 20% growth during March but has said it could be fulfilling as many as four to five times more orders if it weren’t capacity-constrained.
Xbox Live, PlayStation and Nintendo
You might not be able to join your friends for a game of pool at a bar or pub, but you can meet them online for a Mario Kart tournament. So many people have signed up for online gaming subscriptions like Xbox Live, PS Plus and Nintendo Switch Online in the last week that all have suffered short-term outages.
IT teams scrambled to shore up the platforms under the extra weight and they were soon up and running again. Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, confirmed that “usage is up on almost everything.”
“It’s heartening to hear from so many people using gaming as a way to stay connected during these times. Play is a fundamental human need. Proud to be part of an industry that can offer escape and fun right now,” he said.
Meanwhile, Steam, a popular platform for PC games, reported its all-time highest number of concurrent users, with more than 20 million people logged in at the same time, and almost a third of those were actively playing a game. Covid-19 might have stopped us going out, but it hasn’t stopped us having fun.
How can your brand adapt its offering to be more useful for people stuck indoors? Why not ask them? Book a chat with one of our experts to discuss rapid, self-service consumer research.