The novel coronavirus has disrupted every aspect of our lives. Schools and businesses are closed. Social distancing is keeping us from our colleagues, family, and loved ones. The economy is disrupted and the long-term financial outcomes of this crisis are yet to be seen. But one niche of the market, the world’s biggest technology companies, is still going strong, even growing.
With the need to work from home and socially distance, the pandemic has necessitated a dependence on services from the technology industry’s biggest companies.
Online retail giant Amazon announced it would hire 100,000 warehouse workers in response to the surge in demand as fewer people venture out of their homes. Facebook reported an explosion in traffic, specifically to video calling and messaging services. Microsoft saw a one-week 40% increase in demand for software for online collaboration.
While Amazon’s leverage on traditional store-based retail is not new, shoppers are now turning to the site for more basic things like groceries and non-prescription pharmaceuticals. Similarly, Netflix has dulled box office profits over the past few years. Streaming services like Netflix have dampened box office sales for movies in recent years. Now, with movie theaters shuttered, Netflix is welcoming growing audiences.
Apple, which relied heavily on Chinese factories and clientele and thus was at substantial risk, is doing well. Most of the production facilities are functional again and consumers are using their devices more and spending plenty of money on digital services. The tech-giant even introduced new gadgets and tools during the crisis.
Technology is a $3.9 trillion global industry annually. It is yet unknown how much the sector will suffer in the remainder of 2020 and the years ahead. When the economy does recover from the crisis, big tech will likely see continued benefit from habits consumers adopted during the lockdown.