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2020: 6 Silver Linings From an Unpredictable Year

by aleran
18 December, 2020

Most of us are understandably looking forward to a new year (and a new vibe), as 2020 draws to a close. But as we turn our collective focus to what 2021 might bring (hint: e-commerce is still poised for dominance, having crammed about 5 years worth of growth into 9 months), let’s pause for a moment and take a look back at some of the more unexpected gifts of 2020 — a year like none other.

     1. We took a masterclass in hand hygiene.

Did any of us in non-medical professions really know how to wash our hands before Covid-19? 2020 gave us (and especially our kids) a masterclass in hand hygiene, from instructional videos, to 20-second long sing-alongs, to a global run on hand sanitizer (2020 topped all previous manufacturers’ records).

     2. We worked from home (and we liked it).

For millions of Americans, 2020 was the year that many holdouts saw that with the right technology in place, working from home could, well, work. According to a Gartner report, a staggering 88% of organizations made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work from home post-covid-19. Supported by the right cloud-based software, remote sales tools, and other technology platforms, workplaces have discovered new ways to connect and collaborate from the home office.

     3. We watched science win.

In a record-setting feat few thought possible back in March, scientists around the globe worked tirelessly to bring us not one, but several, viable Covid-19 vaccines in 2020, with the first shots administered to high-risk medical professionals and individuals in December. The first successful vaccine candidate was produced in just ten months, the shortest amount of time ever (beating out the former record holder, the mumps vaccine, which took 4 years).

     4. We went outside. A lot.

With Covid-19 transmission rates vastly reduced in outdoor settings, 2020 saw many of us getting outside in huge numbers. And in addition to being good for us, that also meant good news for a number of industries and businesses, which saw their sales skyrocket. Bicycle sales rose 120% from 2019, campsite booking sites saw reservations soar 500%, and golf equipment sales were up 50% over previous year earnings.

     5. We did curbside everything.
From reduced capacity to store closures, when it came to retail, 2020 was the year we shopped differently (bringing in $10.8 billion, Cyber Monday 2020 set the record for the largest U.S. internet shopping day ever). But e-commerce record setting aside, 2020 also gave us new shipping and fulfillment options powered by game-changing logistics technology: from curbside to on-demand to home delivery to dropship.

     6. We applauded global innovation.

This year businesses from across industries and sectors joined forces to pivot, collaborate and innovate when an unprecedented global health crisis called for their collective ingenuity, open innovation and swift action. From data sharing, to biotech R&D, to 3D-printed face shields and ventilators, 2020 was a year that shone a bright light on the power and potential of business-science partnerships.

2020 wasn’t easy. But this year will likely be remembered at least in part as a powerful example of what’s possible when we work together toward a common goal.


Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and safe 2021!


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