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But it was not all grim and gloomy; the unfortunate year saw a long due rigorous transformation into digital payments and e-commerce, especially with the worldwide lockdown and social distancing. The digital, cashless, and e-commerce industry saw a big surge and a considerable demand.
Take Netflix, for example, which saw 225% over the expected subscribers in one quarter as people were forced to stay home, so theatres were out of the question.
Similarly, the gaming industry had a very healthy year with 20% growth year-over-year, at 179.7 billion dollars, which is more significant than movies and North-American sports combined.
The MENA region was not any different. It had its own success stories. InstaShop, a UAE-based e-grocery startup, was acquired for 360 million dollars by Delivery Hero, a multinational online food-delivery service based in Berlin.
What does 2021 have in store?
With the ease of the restrictions on travel, lifting of lockdowns, and economy across the globe slowly recovering, people might think that the growth in digital and cashless payments will decelerate, especially with the novel coronavirus vaccine is being rolled out as well speak.
However, in reality, it is expected that digital purchases, cashless transactions, and e-commerce will continue to grow, given the fact that all of these are lifestyle choices. Much like the transformation caused by the dot-com boom in the late 90s, and the change it carried with it, it is expected that the market will continue to go in this direction full-throttle, as the cashless transactions worldwide are expected to hit the 837-billion-dollar mark by 2021, according to Statista.
At CASHU, we are also expecting a very healthy growth in 2021. More of our users have discovered the convenience of cashless transactions. What previously took them a long time and much effort can be achieved within a couple of taps; it is a game-changer.
At the end of the day, 2020 was full of challenges across the world. Still, it also brought a crucial chance for the survival of businesses regardless of their different specialties. They need to have some e-commerce or digital payment capacity, not to put lipstick on their offer, but rather to survive.
Moreover, physical goods or products with a digital counterpart (i.e., physical media and physical video games) will become a niche. The majority of the sales will be digital subscription-based services.
2021 will carry on this trend, as it is safer and more convenient, even if coronavirus disappeared.