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Amazon's role in COVID-19

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Amazon's role in COVID-19

Published on May 12, 2019 by Sandipan Das

As hunkered-down consumers increasingly resort to Amazon for everything from toilet tissue to streaming television, Amazon is finding itself in a new role in the coronavirus epidemic. Consumers will have high expectations on Amazon to meet their needs and desires in a time when many people are confined to their houses. Amazon, which recently expanded its food business by acquiring the Whole Foods grocery chain, has altered its objectives in recent days to assist customers in obtaining essential household and medical items. To cope with a boom in online purchasing spurred by coronavirus fears, Amazon raised salaries and announced plans to hire 100,000 more US workers to add to its global workforce of 800,000.

The Seattle-based company plans to spend more than $350 million to raise hourly compensation for employees and partners in distribution facilities, transportation operations, and retail in North America and Europe.

In a blog post, senior vice president of international operations Dave Clark said, “Getting a priority item to your doorstep is crucial as communities embrace social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health conditions.” '

Looking for a hero

Amazon accounts for some 37 percent of US e-commerce sales, according to the research firm eMarketer, and is the largest cloud computing firm which powers online operations around the world, including for firms like rival streaming platform Netflix.

If Amazon becomes a salvation for people unable or afraid to go out to shops due to coronavirus risk, it could win new users and become a more entrenched habit, and potentially boost its image at a time when Big Tech has come under fire.

“Worst case, Amazon gets looked at as the company that had to shut down like other retailers (due to the coronavirus),” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy.

Moorhead used Amazon to bring supplies to his octogenarian father, who lives alone, and his in-laws, who live in a lakeside house and are “hiding out.”

Amazon announced this week that it was rearranging its operations, delaying some deliveries to assist customers with more urgent requirements.

In response to an AFP query, Amazon said, “We are experiencing increasing online buying and as a result some products such as household essentials and medical supplies are out of stock.”

Takeaway

Amazon’s activities, according to the French section of the environmental group Friends of the Earth, are irresponsible, and the firm “is aiming to profit from the crisis by increasing its influence,” according to a statement.

Comments According to Enderle, a side consequence of the coronavirus could be expedited development of drone delivery systems, which are currently being tested in some regions.