Instacart And 9 Other Companies Getting Business Surge From COVID-19
Thanks to luck, resourcefulness or circumstance, certain companies are seeing a surge in business and thriving because of the coronavirus crisis.
The beneficiaries are shielded from damage such as pharmacies, or they can capitalize on being deemed essential at a time when people are fearful and hoarding items, like grocery stores.
Some companies had built-in financial cushions or credit lines to access cash.
Here’s a look at 10 companies that are seeing a business surge from COVID-19.
Online grocery delivery service Instacart has turned a profit for the first time ever in the last few weeks, thanks to skyrocketing sales as consumers shelter in place try to stay home during the pandemic.
Instacart sold about $700 million worth of groceries per week in the first two weeks of April — a 450 percent increase over December sales, The Information reported.
Jaws dropped when video-conference service Zoom announced that it was serving 200 million people a day in March. This month, Zoom revised that upwards to 300 million attendees a day in April. That’s up from 10 million a day in December.
With more businesses being run from home during the coronavirus outbreak, people need video conferencing. But the real growth has come from friends, families, and virtual classrooms, Motely Fool reported. Zoom’s user audience has grown 30-fold in four months. That won’t translate into 30-fold jump in revenue — most of the new users are free accounts — but “it has made videoconferencing on Zoom ubiquitous.”
With malls and stores shut down, the pandemic is putting many businesses in peril while increasing the dominance of big box stores. Walmart is still open because it sells essentials such as food, drugs and household goods. Walmart went on a hiring spree, saying in March that it planned to hire 150,000 new workers. The retail giant filled all of these roles in less than a month, about six weeks ahead of schedule, Marketwatch reported.
In mid-April, it said it will hire 50,000 more workers at distribution centers and stores, filling roles such as cashiers and personal shoppers.
Uber Eats (Uber)
In the short run, any business focused on the exchange of goods and ideas between people without actual in-person interaction is positioned well during the coronavirus outbreak. Platform-based delivery apps such as UberEats have seen a spike in use. After most states ordered all restaurants to offer takeout or delivery orders only, Uber Eats sales rose to a 33-percent year-over-year gain, Motley Fool reported.
Streaming service Netflix is thriving at a time when theaters and movie studios are frozen, The Atlantic reported. Netflix has its best quarter ever in Q1 2020 with an explosion of new subscribers. About 15.8 million people around the world signed up for the service through March—more than double what Wall Street analysts had predicted. Netflix now has 182.8 million subscribers, making it one of the world’s largest entertainment services.
Disney+ and Hulu
Disney has been hit hard from the pandemic. Its theme parks are closed, movies postponed and ESPN cable channel has no live sports, New York Times reported. “Its upstart streaming service is one exception.”
Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, reached 50 million subscribers since launching in November, with the help of new markets throughout Europe and India. Analysts predicted Disney+ would reach 50 million subscribers by 2022. It’s “an astounding number for a product that is only five months old.”
By comparison, Hulu (majority-owned by Disney) had 30.7 million subscribers. It took 13 years in operation to get there. Hulu has not yet been introduced overseas.
With a $100-billion market cap, Gilead has seen 24-percent year-to-date returns. It’s the most high-profile name in the race for a coronavirus treatment, given its track-record with treating viral infections HIV and Hepatitis C, Forbes reported. For coronavirus, Gilead has the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, which was initially developed for Ebola. Late-stage human trials are ongoing in China, Asia, and the U.S. Anecdotal evidence has been mixed.
Shopify (more e-commerce)
As e-commerce booms during the coronavirus outbreak, Shopify today debuted a mobile shopping assistant app called Shop, according to a press release. Smartphones accounted for 84-percent of e-commerce growth during the 2019 holiday season. The Canadian tech firm is better known for providing website hosting solutions for businesses, but has shifted more of its focus to the consumer during the public health crisis, Mobile Marketer reported.
A key feature of the Shopify app is a spotlight on local brands. A recent survey of global consumers by Ernst & Young found that 34 percent of respondents are willing to pay more for local products amid the pandemic.
As Americans order almost everything online during the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon has come under recent fire over reports of insufficient safety measures for frontline workers in warehouses. Investors aren’t nervous, CNN reported.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 70: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. He talks about the failed leadership of Trump, Andrew Cuomo, CDC Director Robert Redfield, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, and New York Mayor de Blasio.
Shares of Amazon have increased by 30 percent this year, finishing at a new high of $2,410.22 on Friday. The company led by Jeff Bezos is now worth $1.2 trillion — about the same as Apple and behind Microsoft in the top three for most valuable publicly traded company in the U.S.
Amazon Prime subscribers are binge-watching according to the same stay-at-home trends as Netflix. Analysts expect Analysts expect the company to report a 20-percent-plus sales increase.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first at-home COVID-19 test kit sold by LabCorp, a diagnostics company. Health care workers and first responders will have first access. The tests cost $119 and consumers will have to pay out of pocket for them and ask their insurer for reimbursement, New York Times reported. The Trump administration has repeatedly said that diagnostic tests for the coronavirus will be covered and consumers don’t have to pay for them.
Governors around the U.S. say their states are facing a shortage of tests. CVS and Walmart are setting up drive-through testing centers in parking lots. Kits that let people collect their own nasal specimens at home have the potential to open up testing to a wider audience.