Some companies flourished, many lagging behind during the 2020 pandemic

By March 23, Apple had lost about $ 435 billion in market value in about five weeks, and many of its retail outlets were closed as a pandemic of the virus captured the global economy and stock markets. Meanwhile, a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 2% of small businesses surveyed went out of business permanently in March.

On December 21, the value of Apple’s stock market amounted to over 2.18 trillion dollars, which is 121% more than on March 23. On the same day, Congress approved nearly $ 300 billion in additional relief for small businesses, money many hard-hit owners just hope can help them survive until the pandemic finally subsides

The success of Apple and other large technology companies and the struggle of the smallest companies is just one example of how the pandemic created winners and losers in the 2020 business world. Wall Street recovered after March; Main Street is still struggling.

In 2020, it wasn’t uncommon to work remotely in tracksuits – while meeting on video conferencing platforms like Zoom – then hopped on an expensive high-tech exercise bike and delivered a favorite dish from a restaurant home (from a driver trying to make extra money) and hoping you won’t infect the coronavirus).

Of course, the other side of that scenario was abandoned office buildings, empty restaurants, and sparsely populated gyms. And as few people have traveled, the airline industry has needed billions of dollars of help from the government and is still threatening to lay off workers.

What follows is a look at those businesses that have benefited from the pandemic and those that have faltered.

First, the winners:


Big Tech was a big winner away from the pandemic. Lock orders have accelerated a major change in online life that was already underway. With a sudden rate of work and home shopping, profits proved resilient for Big Tech, even as the pandemic shattered cinemas, malls and other industries. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Google’s parent company now make up about 22% of the S&P 500 alone. Never before have five companies been so dominant on Wall Street. At the beginning of the year, those five accounted for less than 17% of the index. As 2020 closes, the pressure grows. Regulators around the country and the world are putting Big Tech under greater scrutiny, which could jeopardize their leadership.


As cinemas closed and locks dropped across the country, people turned to an increasing number of video streaming services for entertainment. Americans increased streaming time by 75% in the second quarter from a year ago, according to Nielsen, while the pandemic accelerated the trend of people switching to watching television via the Internet rather than via traditional cable. Among the new services launched were NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia HBO Max. Netflix was a big winner, adding 28 million subscribers in the first nine months of the year. And Disney + gained 86.8 million subscribers in just one year, a great spot for Walt Disney Co., whose other businesses, including film studios and theme parks, were aggravated by the pandemic.


As people scrambled home for the coronavirus, restaurant delivery companies that were appropriate in 2019 became key jobs in 2020. Grubhub’s revenue jumped 36% by September, as more and more restaurants began using app-based delivery services to survive a complete or partial shutdown of their dining room. At Uber, his Uber Eats delivery service brought in more money during the third quarter than the signature-sharing business. And the trend is global. For example, DoorDash now offers delivery of 390,000 retailers from the U.S., Canada and Australia. The company’s shares jumped 86% in its stock market debut on December 9th.


Fitness regimes have largely moved from the gym to the home during 2020. Interactive fitness bike maker Peloton was one of the biggest winners in the trend of exercising from home. Revenue during the first nine months of this year more than doubled to $ 1.9 billion as its high-tech bikes and treads found more homes. Subscriptions rose dramatically during the year, reaching just over 1.3 million by September compared to 563,000 a year earlier. Meanwhile, the gyms didn’t go so well because people avoided the crowds. Planet Fitness recorded a 45% drop in revenue by September, as memberships fell and the company washed away workers. Others like 24-hour fitness have sought protection from bankruptcy.

Pet supplies

More Native Americans got pets during the pandemic, and investors took note of that. Sixty-seven percent of American households now own a pet, according to the National Pet Owner Survey 2019-2020, conducted by the American Pet Association. That’s more than about 56% 30 years ago. In a quest to cash in on the trend, San Diego-based Petco filed for an IPO this month. Details are still a secret, but last year’s IPO of online pet stock retailer Chewy provides a comparison worth a slut. Shares of Chewy have quadrupled since the 2019 IPO. Stocks of another pet supply company, Freshpet, have more than doubled this year.


And, industries that lost ground in 2020:


Travel for work and leisure evaporated in 2020. Planes were empty and airports were ghost towns. On April 14, the Transportation Security Administration inspected only 87,534 passengers at American airports, which is a staggering 96% compared to the same day in 2019. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said last month that business travel, a major source of airline revenue, had fallen 90% Far fewer people needed hotel rooms as well. The market data company STR said that at the end of October, the American hotel occupancy for the year to date averaged 45%, which is less than 66% for the whole of 2019. And forget about cruise getaways: Most major cruise companies have voluntarily stopped sailing from U.S. ports by the end of February 2021.


Coronavirus and the drastic measures put in place by government officials to try to control its spread have done great damage to many small businesses in the United States. Especially difficult were restaurants, hairdressers, event planners and other companies that rely on people who are in the immediate vicinity of Hit, as well as those related to tourism. In April, ADP, a payroll provider, reported that nearly 20 million jobs were lost in U.S. companies, more than half in businesses employing less than 500 people. The government’s aid program helped by providing more than 5.2m loans to small businesses and nonprofits between April and August. Congress approved another round of funding this week, but many companies can still give up.


Untuck it? It’s like you’re not even wearing it anymore. A significant proportion of the millions of people forced to work from home by the coronavirus pandemic were less likely to wear business attire. According to retail industry analyst NPD Group, sales of men’s suits fell by 62% from March to October compared to the same period in 2019. People choose comfort instead of style, a trend that was already on the move but accelerated by COVID-19. Consumers “use active clothing for everyday purposes, which doesn’t always include exercise,” said NPD analyst Maria Rugolo. That’s good news for manufacturers of tracksuits, t-shirts, and even pajamas.


Commercial real estate is among the industries hardest hit by the pandemic and there are doubts about how quickly it will recover. Vacancy rates for retail, office and other types of real estate rose sharply compared to a year ago. Housing supports this trend, which benefits from increased demand for housing. Shares in the real estate sector are one of the few sectors to fall this year. The pandemic has forced millions of people to work from home and turn to e-commerce more than ever to buy groceries and other goods. These trends, which had already gained momentum before the pandemic, have accelerated. The question is how much it will affect demand after the pandemic ends.


The oil industry was strained after travel was halted in an effort to stop the coronavirus, which sent demand for jet fuel and gasoline. Producers were already struggling before the pandemic hit, due to a weak global economy and a market flooded with cheap oil. As the coronavirus spread and Saudi Arabia and Russia fought over prices, oil prices fell. Prices have recovered, but have stood at about $ 40 a barrel for months, well below what most producers have to strike a balance. The oil, gas and chemical industries laid off 107,000 workers during the spring and summer, according to a Deloitte Insights study. Oil giants Exxon Mobil, Chevron and others have reduced consumption and reduced the workforce.


AP authors Stan Choe, Alex Veiga, Damian J. Troise, Cathy Bussewitz, Greg Keller, Mae Anderson, Matt Ott, Dee-Ann Durbin, David Koenig, and Joyce M. Rosenberg.