Businesses That COVID-19 Can’t Kill
The unexpected Movement Control Order by the Malaysian government has severely impacted many businesses around the country, especially those that have planned for sales and other promotions which would have to be cancelled. Globally, many countries have also implemented similar, if not more severe, levels of quarantines and lockdowns, resulting in a stock market crash in February and March which saw a drop of more than 10,000 points since its peak on 12 February 2020. However, there are a few businesses which are not only unaffected by this situation but are in fact booming because of it. Here are some of the businesses that are profiting in spite of (or even because of) the quarantines, lockdowns and self-isolation:
Food Delivery Services
Due to the partial lockdown, many people are forced to stay home, and restaurants are only allowed to operate for takeaways, no dine-ins. Because of this, food delivery services such as GrabFood and numerous fast-food deliveries are receiving a lot more business than usual, to the point that they are overwhelmed and may even delay deliveries for up to two hours during peak hours, with more orders than there are riders to handle them all. Still, there are no signs that this will be slowing down anytime soon as the Movement Control Order is expected to last until the end of March, barring any extensions if necessary.
While most physical stores are shut down to prevent any mass gatherings of people in one area in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19, many have turned to online shopping for their daily needs, with the added convenience of home deliveries and not having to step foot out of the house.
With sports on hold and cinemas and parks closed during the Movement Control Order, choices for entertainment are limited to the home. Thus, it’s no surprise that many have turned to video streaming sites like Netflix, where some analysts predict a 20% increase for the next three to six months, with more new customers joining in. In light of this, local satellite TV provider Astro is providing complimentary viewing of 22 channels for everyone on Astro Go until the end of the month.
The more action-oriented people who are forced into self-isolation during this partial lockdown are more than thrilled as it means having to spend less time commuting to and from work (assuming they’re still required to work from home) and more time to play video games, especially during breaks in between work. The PC gaming platform Steam marked more than 20 million gamers online at the same time, the most in their 16-year history. According to US-based telco Verizon, video gaming during peak hours has gone up by 75% since the quarantine went into effect in the US.
Thankfully during this time, we are not facing a full lockdown, meaning we are still able to freely travel outside our homes to purchase food and other necessities, provided only one person from each household goes out. This means supermarkets are still in business, and because of the panic-buying, shelves are emptied almost as soon as they are restocked. This is both a blessing and a curse, as this unprecedented level of sales has left grocers understaffed and not being able to keep up with the demand, leading to extended lines and checkout times.
While these businesses had unexpected “help” from the coronavirus, there are others out there who have hoarded things like face masks and hand sanitisers in order to make a killing by reselling these essentials at severely marked-up prices that no one in their sane mind would ever pay for during normal times, but these are not normal times, so these “coronapreneurs” are taking advantage of people’s desperation in order to do things like selling face masks for around RM10 each when they normally cost only 20 sen per unit. Thankfully, the Malaysian government has introduced a ceiling price to the sale of face masks as well as punishment for those who sell above the fixed ceiling price, but we shouldn’t need the government to tell us how to be ethical in our dealings with other people. Let’s look out for the long-term wellbeing of others instead of short-term personal profits.
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