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2030 arrives in 2020

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I got a chart this week that made me smile. This is it …

In one month, retail sales jumped massively from 16% to 27% of all sales. The end of main street is nigh.

Other facts and figures that made me smile were Amazon’s retail sales jumping 26% in Q1 2020, Zoom moving from 10 million to 300 million users in just four months and Microsoft’s cloud service Azure jumping 775 percent in the month after lockdown.


What is happening is the world has moved to digital in just a few short weeks. We all now accept our digital connectivity from home, working from home, getting deliveries to the home, doing everything from home.

The incredible thing is that the trend towards this movement has been sown for years. Back in 2006, I wrote about it and this blog from 2008 extends the discussions further.

No one believed, believes or expects video-banking to take off, and yet the past two months has seen everyone moving to videochat.


Because we lost our physical chat. We don’t like the disconnected world of a voice on a telephone and so we naturally moved immediately to videochat.

Does anyone honestly expect that to stop, post-pandemic? Forget it. When the lockdown recedes, we’re going to still be doing most stuff from home for the foreseeable future. Who wants to be locked in an office all day with a two-hour commute on a packed train? Who wants to travel to a conference in a city far away on an aeroplane full of germs?

I reckon that for the next year or two years, we will continue with videochat and that changes our behaviours fundamentally.

We can then add another fundamental shift in behaviour introduced by the pandemic: apps.

Sure, you and I know all about apps and deal with much of our daily life with apps. But apps for everything and everyone has been turbo-charged by the pandemic.

Between 14 March and 14 April, 200,000 people downloaded their bank’s app each day, according to data collected by fintech firm Nucoro. In total, six million people—or 12% of the UK’s adults—have made the switch to digital banking in recent weeks.

In other words, what we are seeing is the world converting to digital in just a couple of months. Digital delivery, digital services, digital access, digital entertainment, digital shopping, digital banking, digital everything.


"There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen." Lenin

The question is raises for me is: were the companies who were analogue ready for a pandemic that demands digital?

Clearly not.

There are many, many, many businesses that were not ready for digital. WHSmith is a great example. Whilst Amazon saw a 26 percent rise in retail sales online, WHSmith saw an 85 percent decline in sales in stores. No one was going out. No one was in a store. No one is buying physically, except for food and gas.

Stay indoors. Don’t go out. Save lives. Do digital.

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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