The Coronacceleration: Online-everything will drive growth for developing nations

This post was also published on LinkedIn Pulse. 

A series on the latent trends that have been accelerated by the Coronavirus

The most obvious Corona acceleration is the online-everything trend. Over the next decade, companies were already on their path to a digital transformation to enable most consumer and business transactions online, and with everyone suddenly at home, the trend has rapidly accelerated into the present.

The online-everything trend is particularly relevant to emerging countries. Similar to how most of the developed world skipped landlines and went straight to mobile telephony, developing countries that were well on their way to copying Western structures will consider skipping the present and going straight into the future.

Financial services

Even in the West, many financial services were still in a “come on down to the branch” phase for many interactions including mortgages and wealth management. With these types of interactions no longer possible, consumers have flocked to fintech apps. Local, regional, and global banks will rethink their branch footprint as they expand through Asia, the Middle East, South America, and Africa. The ubiquitous Bank of America and Wells Fargo branches we see throughout the United States do not need to be replicated in growth economies.

Health services

Many countries are replicating Western health infrastructure as well. The UAE, for example, has a more modern health infrastructure than many Western countries and was quickly at the top of the list for COVID-19 testing per capita. Now that telemedicine has suddenly become the norm in the West, developing nations should consider building out more telemedicine rather than depending only on a large physical footprint of doctor centers. Local infrastructure can be built out to focus only on emergency medicine and the type of care that mandates in-person consultations.
Postal distribution

While we may debate the efficacy of the U.S. Postal Service, the thought that a developing country should deliver marketing materials, bills, and the occasional private letter by building out the sorting and distribution infrastructure to have humans visit every single residence and business six days a week is not realistic.


Now that even Ivy League universities are going to issue accredited degrees based on distance learning, emerging economies should seriously consider the balance of distance and in-person education. In the U.S., students are paying an aggregate $10,000 per hour for large introductory classes at public universities. Personalized distance education is a viable alternative that can reach students in emerging economies while bypassing the need to build expensive campuses and maintain administrative staff.


Before boutique fitness chains spring up all over the developing world, it should be considered that it’s very difficult even in the West to make time to go to a gym and work out. The Peloton holiday ad was skewered because the actress was already thin, but the point of the ad was that she no longer goes to SoulCycle and it’s daylight when she comes home. Chances are her husband in the flannel shirt was hinted at numerous times to buy her a Peloton, and now he is doing plyo workouts off of YouTube. Encouraging at-home fitness is a great way to balance fitness needs. Some yoga teachers are even making more money now that they have cut out the “middle person” of the studio with Zoom., a company that provides live 1-on-1 and group sessions by connecting teachers in India with students in the US, is seeing over 2,000 new students every day for its group classes.


It is still to be determined whether working remotely works well for many people when teams have not had the opportunity to build trust within relationships. Many people still enjoy going to an office and it is much easier to integrate new employees into a company’s culture. It is also difficult for some people to adapt to a structureless day. However, the trends of flexible working hours due to familial obligations and the ability to work from home are now forever accelerated into working lives in the West and will hopefully be adopted in the developing world. Even the NYSE will likely never go back to a trading floor, so why should a stock exchange in any country have people come to a physical location every day?

Sometimes crises are an opportunity; Coronacceleration will enable the developing world to bypass the calcified systems of the West.