People flooding into hospitals. Shortage of medical equipment. The number of patients increases every single day. Unless you have been living under a rock, you can clearly understand what I am referring to. Yes, the global coronavirus pandemic. What started in a lesser-known part of China went on to become the headline of 2020, creating a massive stir in almost all parts of the globe. From the IMF declaring a recession to several industries getting on a spree to cut down employees – the coronavirus pandemic has hit the world hard.
But even in these times of chaos and uncertainty, we seem to witness some interesting changes in people’s everyday lives. To reduce the spread of the contagious virus, people are living in-home quarantine and are remotely working via the internet. People are stocking up on food and other daily necessities. And while this strange saga of the pandemic continues, companies have been affected in both ways – good and bad.
Corona Beer, the name which is completely synonymous to Coronavirus itself has become a temporary victim of the pandemic. The mass people somehow resonated the name with the pandemic and as a result, went on to avoid this Mexican brew. In a survey conducted in the USA, 38% of the beer consumers said that they would not buy Corona under any circumstance. This pattern has been observed all across the globe. While people were out in departmental stores buying essentials and swooping away every single aisle of the stores, stacks of Corona beers were untouched and miserably lay at a distance. Currently, the company has downsized its production due to the Mexican government’s instruction of home quarantine.
While Corona Beer suffers a hit from the pandemic, a certain industry has gained momentum during this period and is growing like never before – the technology companies.
Zoom is a video conferencing software that provides web-conference services, online meetings and group messaging in a singular platform. With the pandemic rising, people have closed down their offices and have started to work from their homes. And that is exactly what Zoom has capitalized on. As per a report from the stock market, Zoom is currently valued at $38.5 billion, rising from a value of $15 billion last year. And as the pandemic elongates, so does Zoom’s unprecedented popularity in all parts of the globe. So far, it has been downloaded more than 50 million times on the Google app store alone. However, some sceptics have voiced their concerns regarding the software not having end-to-end encryption. Therefore, worries regarding data theft and privacy breach remain. But Zoom has already responded to these complaints by revamping its bug bounty program as part of its long-term plan to improve the security of the service.
The cure to boredom is entertainment, they say. And while we are all stuck in our homes for countless days, what can be the best possible solution apart from Netflix? This on-demand streaming platform has already been a goliath before coronavirus, but the pandemic has further emboldened its dominance. In fact, by the second week of April this year, its stock price has increased more than that of the oil giant Exxon Mobil. Currently, the market valuation of Netflix is said to be around $183 billion. Netflix added 7 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 along with a total subscriber base of 167 million. But despite all the news of hope, certain challenges are already headed towards Netflix. The rise of people viewing online content has also given momentum to some of Netflix’s key competitors, such as Disney+, Amazon Prime and Hulu. So, the company might face stiff competition in the days to come. Besides, with the lockdown taking place, the shooting of some of its best shows have also been delayed. Hence, some shows will not be able to air the series as per their schedules. An analyst claims that this delay will cause a significant reduction in Netflix’s content value by the end of this year.
Slack is a business communication platform that enables employees to work seamlessly using the internet. And just like Zoom, Slack has also benefited tremendously due to the sudden rise in the “work from home” culture. Within the last four months, Slack’s growth has surpassed all that it earned in the last two quarters of 2019. In quarter 3 and 4 of 2019, it only accounted for 5000 new customers while it has already risen to 9000 over the past few weeks. In response to this, Stewart Butterfield, founder of SLACK tweeted ‘”It felt like the shift from inboxes to channels which we believed to be inevitable over 5-7 years just got fast-forwarded by 18 months.” All of these led the company’s stock to rise by 13% with a 78% jump in revenue causing a spark increase in net income.
Out of all the companies benefitting from the pandemic, Amazon is surely the winner. With people spending time in their homes and avoiding going outside, the e-commerce giant has had its perfect opportunity. Amazon’s share price surged by more than a third inside a month, its customers are now spending almost $11,000 a second on its products and services, and its owner, Jeff Bezos, has reinforced his position as the world’s richest person with a fortune of $138 billion. However, the company is currently suffering some severe allegations due to employee safety concerns. The company has been accused of not doing enough to protect its workers from the virus. The company this week fired two employees who criticized Amazon over allegedly unsafe conditions at some of its warehouses. About 75 Amazon warehouses and delivery workers in the US have been infected with the virus, according to the Washington Post.
Despite all the meteoric rise (and fall in certain cases) of these brands in times of this global pandemic; one thing is for certain – the world needs to work towards bouncing back and rising stronger than ever. This can be done if we pull each other up in these uncertain times.