Zebra contributor Beth Jarvis was thinking about the businesses and services affected by the coronavirus, and came to the realization that some have landed in a little better position than others:
Retailers and small businesses across the country have seen business come to a standstill in response to COVID-19. For some though, the pandemic has been a shot in the arm.
Here’s my list of organizations, products and services that have seemingly benefitted. As a bonus, I also dug up some fun facts about each.
Fostering of Pets
Americans looking for comfort during the lockdown have opened their homes to foster animals and new pets, and rescue organizations are having a hard time meeting demand.
Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), said that since March 15, applications to foster pets are up 400 percent compared to the previous year. (Source: FOX News)
Fun fact: Shelters and rescue groups will typically cover medical costs for fosters. Sometimes, they will foot the bill for food and other day-to-day expenses, as well. (Source: Huffington Post)
Netflix and Streaming Services
According to Nielsen data analyzing television viewing statistics, streaming content accounted for 23% of all television being viewed the week of March 15. Of that percentage, 29% was on Netflix, 20% was on YouTube, 10% Hulu, and 9% Amazon Prime Video. Per Deadline, it was a 36% increase from February 24, and 50% higher than the same week of March measured from the year prior. (Source: Nielsen and Deadline)
Fun fact: Here is the full rundown of the most-watched shows on Netflix during April 2020 in order of popularity: 1. Ozark, 2. Money Heist, 3. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, 4. Better Call Saul, 5. Unorthodox, 6. Feel Good, 7. Breaking Bad, 8. Community, 9. Stranger Things, 10. Schitt’s Creek (Source: ReelGood)
In the U.S., nearly 60% of Starbucks’s company-operated stores include a drive-thru. CEO Kevin Johnson said the company expects to have about 90% of its U.S. stores open by early June, with enhanced safety protocols and modified schedules.
Fun fact: Starbucks baristas who are certified “coffee masters” are the only employees allowed to wear black aprons. Once they are approved by a manager, they have to learn all there is to know about coffee before they can officially call themselves a coffee master. So, if you have a question about something specific, look for a barista in a black apron (Source: Starbucks Corporation)
Pandemics, cancellations, and a huge influx of work-from-homers have greatly driven up the demand for video and chat software allowing people to try and maintain some semblance of business and life as usual. As a result, tech titans like Microsoft, Google and Zoom have offered their workplace software for free and have gone to great lengths to ensure they can accommodate the growing demand from users.
Fun fact: Zoom has a Touch Up My Appearance feature which aims to smooth over your appearance, making you look dewy and well-rested. It is similar to the beauty mode on your phone’s selfie camera. To turn it on, click the up arrow next to Start Video. Click Video Settings, and under My Video, check the box for Touch Up My Appearance. (Source: c|net)
Countries that have been under stringent lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus have experienced an unintended benefit. The outbreak has, at least in part, contributed to a noticeable drop in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in some countries. Compared with this time last year, levels of pollution in New York City have reduced by nearly 50% because of measures to contain the coronavirus. (Source: NBC News/BBC)
Fun fact: Things you can do to protect the environment: 1. Have fewer children, or none, 2. Use less water and protect water supplies, 3. Eat responsibly, 4. Conserve energy and switch to renewable energy and 5. Reduce your carbon footprint. (Source: ThoughtCo.)
U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55% in the week ending March 21, according to market research firm Nielsen. Spirits like tequila, gin and pre-mixed cocktails led the way, with sales jumping 75% compared to the same period last year. Wine sales were up 66% while beer sales rose 42%. And online sales far outpaced in-store sales. Nielsen said online alcohol sales were up 243%. (Source: Nielsen)
Fun fact: During March and April, the best-selling brand at Northern Virginia ABC stores was Tito’s Handmade Vodka with about 2.5 times the sales of the next best-selling brand, Jack Daniels 7 Black Whiskey. (Source: WUSA9)
Americans are indulging in comfort food as the coronavirus pandemic keeps us cooped up. The trend represents a stark reversal from the national gravitation toward more natural foods in recent years, which had benefited products viewed as healthier. But a sudden explosion of stress, boredom and, in some cases, a lack of alternatives has changed people’s habits, at least temporarily. (Source: USA Today)
Fun fact: Oreos are the world’s best-selling cookie. And, women are more likely to pull their Oreo cookie apart before eating one. (Source: IBTimes)
The world’s largest internet company had $75.5 billion in sales for the first quarter of 2020, contrasted to $59.7 billion during the same time last year. Its physical store sales, which includes Whole Foods, grew 8% to $4.6 billion; its cloud computing business crossed the $10 billion mark for quarterly revenue; growing 33% in one year. The company hired 175,000 new employees and increased pay for hourly employees by $2 per hour in the U.S. Amazon doubled the regular hourly base pay for every overtime hour worked and is offering extra time off with full pay for those diagnosed with COVID-19. (Source: Amazon Blog)
Fun fact: Amazon’s yellow arrow logo is more than just a decorative swoosh. It was created to represent the message that it sells everything from A to Z (the arrow connects the two letters) and also represents the smile that customers would experience by shopping on the Amazon.com website (the arrow becomes a smile). (Source: AOL)
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of one of the world’s few trillion-dollar companies was already the world’s wealthiest person, pre-pandemic. But before this decade is over, one extremely optimistic estimate projects that the Amazon CEO could also become worth $1 trillion all by himself and become the world’s first trillionaire. Bezos is currently worth $143 billion and his net worth has increased by an average of about 34% in each of the past five years. (Source: Comparisun)
Fun fact: Bezos’s wealth has continued to grow steadily, even with ex-wife MacKenzie getting roughly $38 billion of his Amazon stake as part of his 2019 divorce settlement. (Source: Bloomberg)
Who or what are we missing on this list? Let us know in the comments if there is any other person/place/thing that you think belongs on this list.
~ Beth Jarvis is a contributing writer and friend of The Zebra.