The current COVID-19 pandemic has likely forever changed the way we consume entertainment as well as how we work and learn. As more and more people around the world were confined to their homes, many had to find new ways of adapting to a world in which we communicate solely online.
Payoneer, a leading cross-border payments platform, recently released two reports, specifically in the areas of live-streaming entertainment and E-learning, that provide insights into how COVID-19 is quickly reshaping consumer behavior and how businesses and solopreneurs worldwide are adapting.
The Live-Streaming Boom
With harsh lockdowns in place worldwide, the sudden shift to consuming entertainment via live-streaming and social platforms enabled performers, gamers, retailers and influencers to easily connect with their fans around the globe in real-time.
While there’s nothing quite like the experience of watching an event in person, for marketers and businesses, live-streaming is the closest they can come to physically connecting with their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even before the start of the pandemic, though, popular video-sharing social platforms such as TikTok, a platform that enables users to create, promote, and react to short-form music videos of themselves, was on the rise. Indeed, earlier in March, the app experienced a stunning 18% week-over-week increase in downloads in the U.S. alone.
As for the interactive entertainment space, live-streaming games grew by 45% between March and April 2020, and specifically in mid-March saw a global rise in streaming audiences, with Twitch’s viewership up by 10% and YouTube Gaming up by 15%.
Moving eastwards to China, the live-streaming industry has quickly become an important platform for revenue growth, completely changing the way eCommerce in the region is conducted. Due to COVID-19, live-streaming shopping has boomed and local eCommerce giants like JD.com have boosted sales by partnering with live-streaming platforms like Kuaishou, allowing users to purchase products via live broadcasts.
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Live-Streaming Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns
In Payoneer’s report, global live-streamers indicate how the pandemic has impacted their earnings, what benefits live-streaming offers them and what they believe the future holds for this prosperous landscape post-pandemic.
Accordingly, 51% of survey respondents mentioned they’ve only been earning from live-streaming platforms for less than a year, suggesting that the current pandemic arrived at a time when live-streaming had already started to skyrocket. With more people at home than ever before, the pandemic has given the landscape a significant boost.
In regards to their live-streaming earnings, 38% expected their earnings would increase during the pandemic while 25% expected they would earn about the same, suggesting that with lockdowns in place worldwide, viewers are now craving entertainment more than ever to help take their mind off things and interact with others.
Looking forward, what opportunities will arise for this booming industry once the pandemic subsides? 62% of live-streamers reported that they expect their earnings to grow post-COVID-19, while only 11% believed that their earnings will decrease, hinting that the future for live-streamers is bright.
The Rise of E-Learning in the COVID-19 Era
Turning to the E-learning arena, while online education has been growing steadily in the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly paved the way for even stronger market growth. Social distancing measures and the sudden shift to quarantine has meant millions of people worldwide have had to quickly adapt to a new reality; connecting solely online in order to teach, work, and learn. Others found themselves out of a job and had to quickly shift gears to learn a new, digital trade.
Even before the outbreak, though, the E-learning industry was skyrocketing with the market expecting to reach an eye-watering $350 billion by 2025.
According to Payoneer’s report into E-learning, 74% of professional skills teachers and 73% of foreign language teachers joined the online education industry within the last two years, suggesting that the demand for E-learning has boomed in recent years, even before the pandemic broke out.
Interestingly, the earning potential is an attractive aspect that is drawing in teachers worldwide. According to the survey, 58% of foreign language teachers earn above $500 per month and almost half of these earn between $1,000-$3,000 per month. Depending where these online teachers reside, this level of income can offer a comfortable lifestyle.
As for those teaching professional skills, almost 52% generate income of $500+ per month, 21% earn between $1,000 to $3,000 and 8% earn even more.
Furthermore, when a staggering 90% of all e-teachers reported that they would consider making online teaching their primary source of income once the pandemic is under control and if demand exists, it’s clearly a sign that E-learning is an industry to be taken seriously by all.
As these reports on live-streaming and E-learning show, demand for real-time digital entertainment and online courses have increased more than anticipated during the first part of this year and both hold an promising future for those currently on board, as well as those looking to kickstart a new and more flexible career path.
Written by Payoneer VP and Head of Europe, James Allum