8 factors that could change economies and markets forever

The effects of COVID-19 are vast. Individuals, businesses and governments around the world have faced personal and financial impacts. As a result, material changes to spending patterns could have long-term implications as new habits emerge.

Columbia Threadneedle Investments Portfolio Manager Pauline George sums up eight factors that could permanently change economies and markets. Long-term investors should take note and continue to rely on their Ameriprise advisor for personalized financial advice.


Both in terms of consumption and supply chains, countries will start to think more about where “stuff” comes from and will question their overreliance on certain countries. There could also be an outpouring of support for small local businesses.


This could grow as people are forced to shift from offline to online shopping and with many physical stores no longer accepting cash for hygiene purposes.


Rules and regulations will step up, particularly in China where pressure will grow on the country to regulate its food industry, given the source of the virus outbreaks.


Companies are now forced to enable working from home, and it could become a more acceptable way of working. This has implications for computer equipment and cloud computing investment, as well as commercial real estate and travel, as companies evaluate their need for office space and business trips.


We’ve all relied heavily on technology platforms, including social media, during the isolation period. In the longer term, tech firms will benefit from stronger user growth and rising engagement, while privacy concerns and government attacks may diminish. Pharmaceutical companies may also see a less adversarial environment as they work to develop drugs and therapies to address COVID-19.


Online consumption is rising, especially for groceries, education and broader retail. What started out of necessity for many may perhaps become the norm. This is likely to accelerate certain trends already occurring within retail (e.g., fewer physical locations) and online grocery delivery (which was already growing 100% year-over-year for some retailers).1 The set of online experiences is also likely to grow — many gyms are switching to streaming exercise classes, and many schools and universities have shifted to online courses. It’s possible that these changes could become permanent.


Countries are now seeing the benefits of cleaner air and waterways, and they may try to find ways to maintain these positive changes post-outbreak. Boosted by fiscal stimulus, we might see a greater push for the green agenda and rising investment in things like renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure.


Companies may have a fundamental reset and look more toward their purpose like their impact on the environment, their customers, community, employees and the supply chain. Corporate scrutiny may also accelerate in a post-COVID-19 world.

Market and economic resources

Ameriprise has additional market resources and timely economic insights from financial experts to help keep you informed about current market and economic realities — and how you might be affected. Visit the Ameriprise market volatility resources page for expert analysis and perspectives, audiocasts and other resources.

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Source: Columbia Threadneedle Investments, as of 03/31/20

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