August 24, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a quantum shift in the way we do business, entertain, eat, learn, and live. Unlike the pandemic of the last century, technological advances have enabled many of us to maintain some modicum of normalcy. Here are a handful of publicly traded companies striving to ensure Americans continue to work and play in light of current social distancing guidelines.
Let’s start with online grocers. These companies are benefitting from consumers looking for alternatives to visiting retail stores for their day-to-day necessities (and what’s with the people who were buying up and hoarding toilet paper?). Other than the giants in this space, Amazon.com Inc. (Tii:AMZN) and Walmart Inc. (Tii:WMT), other beneficiaries of this trend include The Kroger Company (Tii:KR) and United Natural Foods Inc. (Tii:UNFI). Local stores have gotten into the space as well, offering delivery services to their surrounding communities.
Hand-in-hand with the rise in online shopping is an increase in activity from logistics, shipping and e-commerce fulfillment services. After all, once consumers click ‘buy,’ the purchased item has to go through an extensive process to get to your doorstep in short notice. And with many still reluctant to spend extended time at brick-and-mortars, that is where courier pick-up and delivery services come into play. USA Truck, Inc. (Tii:USAK), United Parcel Service, Inc. (Tii:UPS), and Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. (Tii:ULH) are among those companies that are benefiting from a sharp uptick in online shopping.
Communications technology companies like Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Tii:ZM), Microsoft Corp. (Tii:MSFT), and Ebay (Tii:EBAY) – through its Skype subsidiary – has not only seen substantial increases in users as companies shift to a remote workforce but has also created a new home fashion trend (we’ve all been there – professional attire on top, pajamas and slippers on the bottom).
Cloud and file-sharing services like Dropbox, Inc. (Tii:DBX) Box, Inc. (Tii:BOX), and Google Drive from Alphabet Inc. (Tii:GOOG, Tii:GOOGL) are a must-have for those who have migrated from cubicles and offices to a work-from-home environment. In fact, Dropbox reported in early August that total revenues for its second fiscal quarter increased 16% from the same period last year as the result of the introduction of new products to help facilitate distributed work.
Though rideshare companies have been devastated by the pandemic, demand for food delivery is stronger than ever with restaurants reduced to take-out service. That’s where Uber Eats from Uber Technologies Inc. (Tii:UBER), Grubhub (Tii:GRUB), and others come into play. For its part, Uber is doubling down on food delivery with the acquisition of Postmates, a delivery service for restaurant-prepared meals and other goods. Demand is to the point that Just Eat Takeaway (Tii:TKAYY), a European third-party delivery provider, is looking to enter the U.S. market by way of acquisition, having extended an offer to buy Grubhub for an estimated $7.3 billion.
An interesting byproduct of a home-based workforce is consumers looking for ways to tackle home improvement projects. Whether it’s just a fresh coat of paint or something more technical, this growth in the DIY space means big business for hardware and building supplies retailers, including Lowe`s Companies, Inc. (Tii:LOW), Floor & Decor Holdings, Inc. (Tii:FND) and The Home Depot, Inc. (Tii:HD).
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