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Understanding Market Positioning Post COVID-19

Covid-19 has impacted the business world and each industry differently, offering a unique opportunity to undertake digital research, assess marketing positioning and review brand perception. With shops and physical spaces closing down, there has been a shift to online operations, meaning your brand’s digital presence is even more important than it was prior to the pandemic. With an increasing number of consumers turning to online solutions, now is the perfect time to build customer loyalty and reach new audiences.

The shift to online has changed company benchmarks because reach on social media, and visits to sites, have all been affected by the pandemic and by new consumer habits. Using social listening to gain a comprehensive view of the new demand and pressures of your industry within the wider Covid-19 context will help you understand how to move forward in the New Normal.

Pharma Industry

Many pharmaceutical companies are reporting efforts to improve the customer journey as a result of the pandemic, learning from the feedback from medical professionals and patients. With market targeting and positioning for pharma organisations becoming ever more competitive, many brands have tried to improve their customer journey and the service they provide. Since the pandemic, much of this digital information is readily available online, making now the perfect time for pharma and life science industries to address and act on new insights.

A global report surveying 720 healthcare professionals based in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and China has shown that 36% of patients have requested remote treatment during the pandemic. This study also found that 1 in 5 Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) have said that allowing patients to self administer treatment could be more commonplace in the future. Overall, the industry has had to quickly adjust to virtual engagements, meetings and interactions and many of these changes could be here to stay.

Food Brands and Supermarkets

One industry that has become incredibly important during global lockdowns is the food industry, predominantly food brands and supermarkets. As customers worried about food shortages in the beginning of the lockdown, the supermarkets witnessed extreme panic buying, and faced criticism from stressed shoppers.


Consumer during pandemic graphGFK explore the top produce consumers are buying during the pandemic, as well as noting the increase in the number of products they are buying too.

In America, during the first week of the pandemic in March 2020, the sale of oat milk rose by 347.3%. Comparatively, dried milk only rose by 126.3%. Many long-life goods were in high demand when perishable items flew off the shelves.

Despite sales increasing for many supermarkets, furlough, additional expenses, temporary closures and new competition have meant many are still struggling. While large supermarket chains in the UK, such as Sainsbury’s, have reported more online sales, this hasn’t necessarily generated a huge profit.

Like many other industries, food brands and supermarkets have reported extraordinary figures for demand and profit, emphasising the need to use this opportunity to set new benchmarks and implement new digital targeting strategies.


Statista graph on Sainsbury's profitEven though many supermarkets saw an increase in sales during the pandemic, here, Statista has shown that profit is down for Sainburys, just like many other supermarkets.

Beauty and Cosmetics

Like so many other industries, fashion, beauty and cosmetics have also been greatly affected. Retail shops have closed and, with people staying at home, the demand and sale of cosmetic items has been impacted.

A McKinsey study published in May 2020 found that “consumers report they intend to spend less on beauty products in the near term”. Previously, 85% of products were bought in stores and sales have now shifted to online. International e-commerce sales have doubled compared to before the outbreak:

  • America – Sephora online sales have risen by 30% since 2019
  • China – online beauty revenue has risen, somewhere between 20% to 30%
  • Amazon – internationally risen by 30%

There has been a significant shift from retail to online purchases and, while some stores and brands have suffered, others have been much more capable of adapting. Becoming entirely e-commerce based, utilising online marketing and analysing trends and sales has become even more important for this industry. Forward-thinking brands have invested in analysing the customer journey and refining this process, gaining a deeper understanding of audience insights to get ahead of the competition.


Graph on the beauty industry and the pandemicLike many other industries, beauty has been hugely affected by lockdowns around the world. McKinsey & Company have looked at how the beauty industry will be affected and how it will recover. 

Media and Entertainment

With social gatherings banned and working from home now the new norm, the media and entertainment industries have been greatly affected. Cinemas have had to close and mass gathering venues, such as music concerts and performances, are no longer allowed. A lack of mobility has meant people are now unable to travel outside their local area, with a knock-on effect on the entertainment industry. PWC has released a report on the predicted impact on the media industry now that social interaction can no longer be monetised in the same way.

Physical advertisements and media have suffered, while we have seen online OTT video, including Youtube and other streaming services, booming. Disney+ was also released during this period, alongside other subscription services, with Netflix and Amazon Prime among some of the most popular sites.

Various factors have affected this industry:

  • People staying at home more means demand for in-home entertainment has risen
  • Creating and publishing content has become more challenging
  • Consumers may have less disposable income as a result of increased unemployment


From trend monitoring and competitive benchmarking to audience segmentation and market positioning, social listening can unveil insights to support marketing, PR and sales, gauge overall brand health, or even help inform product development, regardless of your industry.

For more information about brand tracking, market positioning and benchmarking in a post-Covid-19 world, contact our analysts today to find out more. You can also read similar topics on the Covosphere blog to find out more about what we do.