The coronavirus pandemic is a one in a generation event. The disruption it brought to the lives of countless individuals and businesses is unparalleled during times of peace; For the first time in several generations, life came to an almost standstill. Lockdowns were introduced, with governments and central banks being forced to provide unprecedented economic stimulus to avoid what otherwise would have been economic and social Armageddon.
However, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom; some industries, due to their line of business and preparedness, adapted well to the circumstances. A few supermarket chains reached record gains during the lockdown; unable to visit restaurants and bars, many of us rediscovered the pleasure of home cooking, leading to an increase in groceries spending. Online shopping and home entertainment also recorded bumper results during the first half of the year. With so many of us confined at home, technology became even more important than before. Netflix, the online streaming service, saw a record number of new signups over the last few months; Zoom, a virtual meeting provider almost unknown until recently, is one of the undisputed lockdown winners, having since the beginning of the year become a household name.
For ActivTrades, the first half of the year brought record revenues and a steep increase in the number of new clients. The success we experienced in 2020 is linked to a combination of external and internal factors: The circumstances of the lockdown dictated that retail traders had, in general, more time available to dedicate to the activity. At the same time, economic turmoil generated greater volatility in the markets, intensifying the interest in financial trading and leading to greater numbers of active traders and the correspondent increase in volume.
This unique moment coincided with our readiness. Our live webinars, that we had been offering for several years, reached new audience peaks, as more of those in home-confinement saw them as a perfectly suited way to expand their understanding of the financial markets. Also, we’d recently launched the latest update of ActivTrader, our proprietary trading platform, designed and implemented by our in-house team of developers, which, with its unique order types, advanced features and intuitive functionality, proved to be a favourite for most of our new clients, especially in its mobile app versions. Finally, since February the ActivTrades management team started to deploy a contingency plan. As lockdowns were imposed across the countries where our offices are based, ActivTrades’ workforce seamlessly switched to working from home. All our main and ancillary functions were maintained, ensuring the protection of our colleagues’ health and allowing the business to continue offering a high level of service. During this period, we also introduced new products, such as the rolling Oil spot contract, without expiration, launched following the price crash of the May Crude Oil future contract in the last few minutes before expiration.
The coronavirus is without a doubt a great challenge; these are difficult times, with the virus still not completely under control and the global economy battered by a slowdown. However, we must remember that great challenges can also represent opportunities. As has been the case in previous crisis, the tide will turn, and better times will come!