Winners in Corona

Author: Ashita Khandelwal
January 15, 2021

We are about to complete one year of living amidst this pandemic. As the country extends the lockdown period, numerous businesses have come to a near-standstill. Shopping streets remain empty, as the government is forced to close stores in order to maintain a grip on the virus after the outbreak of the British variant. According to the World Bank, this is the deepest economic recession experienced by the world in decades.  

But interestingly, not everyone is losing out as a result of this pandemic. Certain industries saw a rise in their sales like never before. Personal protective equipment manufacturing (face masks and sanitizers), streaming platforms and online shopping websites benefited immensely from the precautionary measures and the lockdown, while the hospitality industry suffered a great deal due to the social distancing protocols. 

According to a research conducted by the World Bank, in just a quarter of a fiscal year there has been a decline of 63% in the demand for hotels, which is a service that requires face-to-face interaction, while there has been an increase in the demand for information and communication technology by a similar percentage. A significant number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies seized the opportunity to turn huge profits last year.

For instance, Moderna, one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine companies, saw its quarterly revenue increase fivefold in the second quarter of 2020. Other notable examples of winners include the video conferencing platform Zoom, which was able to successfully capitalize on the work and study from home trends last year. Similarly, e-commerce giant Amazon recorded its highest quarterly profit ever as more and more buyers turn to online shopping. On the other side of the globe, Japanese video game company Nintendo witnessed a 200% rise in its fourth quarter profits as youngsters are stuck at home, with the gyms being closed as a result of the lockdown. 

Taking a step back from digital service and e-commerce platforms, Imperial Brands, the leading British Tobacco company reports an increase in sales indicating that the increased stress levels made people spend a bigger portion of their income on cigarettes. 

From the long term perspective, some things like online shopping would just become habits and people might not go back to the pre-COVID times. This pandemic might have acted as a catalyst for technological growth in that sense. Additionally, it has shifted the  focus to sustainable consumption. Global greenhouse gas emissions has been slashed by a record 7% from 2019 as a result of the corona restrictions. Google is planning to continue work from home in post-COVID times. 

All being said, it is evidently clear that barring a few companies and sectors, the global economy faced a major downturn. These unforeseen circumstances presented to us a trade-off between economic and public health. As the pandemic continues, the only thing that remains clear is that the world that will remain in the wake of the virus will be drastically different from the one we know.

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