The outbreak of Coronavirus Covid-19 and its rapid spread around the world has had serious implications for the international economy. It has negatively affected global stock markets and industries such as travel, hospitality and retail. However, despite this, various commercial sectors will remain unaffected by the negative socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This article will explain how certain commercial businesses, such as e-commerce, home entertainment and pharmaceuticals, will not only escape the negative economic impacts of the pandemic but also potentially stand to gain from it.
Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare
Pharmaceutical companies will benefit from increasing investment for the development of a vaccination for Covid-19. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson are ‘repurposing’ products developed for HIV, Ebola and other epidemics while Roche Holding AG is developing a testing kit for the virus.
Gilead Sciences, Inc., has also enjoyed a boost in shares after announcing clinical trials for Covid-19 treatment. Meanwhile, Alpha Pro Tech Ltd. has responded to increased customer demand for face masks by increasing production. Lakeland Industries Inc., which produces protective gear, has also increased in stock market value. Despite notorious tendencies for rapid fluctuations in the stock market, the pharmaceutical industry is predicted to enjoy economic growth as a result of the coronavirus.
Grocery stores across the world have been facing shortages as individuals flock to panic buy and stock up on items such as toilet roll, hand sanitiser, non-perishable foods such as tinned goods and pasta and even frozen food. Companies such as the Clorox Company which specialises in disinfectants and cleaning products are also witnessing a rise in consumer demand and an increase in stock market value. Despite broader trends of economic decline and global recession, certain consumer good commercial businesses are enjoying a greater share of the market at the moment.
As explained by Doug Anmuth, analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co, the closure of ‘physical stores and fear of public places’ is resulting in a shift towards online retail, benefitting the e-commerce sector. Companies such as Deliveroo which offer food takeaway and delivery services, (and soon a grocery delivery service) thereby minimising social contact, are increasing in popularity.
Amazon, in particular, is enjoying increased consumer demand. Selling vital items across a variety of sectors such as food, cleaning supplies and household essentials, the company has been described as the ‘best operator and best positioned’ to cope with the current socio-economic situation and is predicted to increase its share of both general retail and online retail industries following the outbreak of the virus.
Home Entertainment and Social Media Platforms
In order to contain the virus and prevent its spread, individuals across the world have been advised to practice social distancing and self-isolation. As people are forced to stay at home, home entertainment services such as Netflix and Spotify are increasing in popularity with Barclaycard reporting a 12.4% growth in digital content subscription amongst British consumers in February.
Netflix has also announced an extension for Google Chrome known as Netflix Party, allowing people to host virtual movie nights and watch shows and films remotely with friends. Similarly, social networking apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Skype are predicted by analysts to rise in popularity as they allow people to keep in touch across the globe.
The closure of public spaces including gyms has also increased the demand for fitness apps and exercise equipment, allowing people to workout at home. Peloton, for example, which sells high-end exercise bikes and offers a streaming service, has enjoyed a rise in stock market value.
Businesses have also encouraged their employees to work remotely from home, causing shares in video-conferencing businesses such as Slack and Zoom to skyrocket. Slack, for example, experienced a 30.3% boom in stock market value in February while Zoom enjoyed an 11% rise in shares. Panopto, which offers video streaming services and software for e-learning has also witnessed a 1,000% surge in interest in their products.
Virtual technologies allowing people to keep entertained and remain in contact remotely are rising in popularity in response to the isolation measures that need to be taken in the wake of the pandemic. These companies are expected to enjoy a continued rise in stock market value.