Pandemic spurs new niche markets for business sector

BUSINESS BRIEFING. PamCham officers led by president Nestor Mangio join former President and now presidential adviser on Clark Flagship programs and projects Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Pampanga Vice Governor Lilia Pineda after a business briefing on January 13 about the June 2021 opening of the new Clark International Airport terminal. With them are Lipad president Atty. Vi Yong and new CDC president Manny Gaerlan. (Contributed photo)

PAMPANGA Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PamCham) past president Rene Romero said in a recent interview that the coronavirus pandemic had strengthened and stimulated certain sectors despite its adverse effects on businesses in general.

Romero said the pandemic had encouraged the fast group of online and contactless selling. Though virtual selling had already been a growing industry before the pandemic, the recent restrictions had further strengthened online selling as a conventional medium of shopping and doing business.

The business leader also said that the pandemic had somehow made businessmen more aware of diversifying their markets and entertaining the potential of online transactions and mediums.

He said home delivery services have also grown despite the ongoing restrictions, adding that more and more services are now being offered for contactless transactions.

But Romero was not mincing his words when he said that a considerable number of industries and businesses, around 30 percent, have closed shop, with more than half most likely not to open anymore.

He said businesses that have weathered the storm of the pandemic's fiscal effects are in the best condition to show recovery this coming fiscal year.

"More stable industries will see more signs of improvement this coming year. It will still be survival for those in unstable footing," Romero said, adding that businessmen are taking their chances now on new business models that are more adapted to restrictions and require far less customer contact.

He said a stimulus package, too, from the government may or may not come, so it would be prudent for businesses to continue to keep paddling on their own resources while awaiting for better prospects when all restrictions are lifted.

"There is a big impact on the local industries if we have a vaccine ready. Surely the mere announcement would have a boost in business confidence in the local industries," the businessman said, stressing that the availability of a vaccine for coronavirus would have a direct effect on the local economy.

He said the implementation of vaccination programs for frontlines and essential personnel would drive local economies as a considerable number of people would be able to go back at least to some extent of normalcy.


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