The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated global lockdowns and a deficit of job availability due to huge economic losses of profit. In 2020, governments and international organizations warned of a global economic growth slowdown and a great potential recession in the near future.
As countries worldwide gradually eased lockdown protocols, and air travel resuscitated, many projected recoveries from the tragedy of 2020. However, as newer, transmissible, and deadlier variants continue to emerge and vaccines become less potent, countries may be threatened to impose strict movement protocols again, hindering economic growth.
The lockdown heightened the use of the internet in households. Our offline life merged with our online life. From schools to work and casual meetings with acquaintances, all occurred through electronic mode. We have become increasingly reliant on the internet, spawning an unprecedented larger digital footprint. Ones that attempted to avoid the digital world were forced into its adoption. In the wake of COVID-19, surveys have discovered considerable users have more than 10 social media accounts. Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook are a few popular ones.
Alongside social media accounts, people have also created accounts on online shopping websites. People’s fixation with shopping did not curb the closure of shopping malls and stores. Although the economy is suffering, E-Commerce is thriving. Companies like Amazon, Shein, Rakuten, Ali Baba and Netflix are dominating the global E-Commerce industry. Their sales have increased dramatically under the pandemic, between 3-8% in developed countries, growing into a $26.7 trillion industry.
E-Commerce giants are currently earning profits in triple amounts. Jeff Bezos, the founder and executive chairman of Amazon, witnessed an 87% increase in shares of his company since January 2020, earning $86 billion more. He became the first person in history with a net worth of over $200 million. Tech billionaires also received their fair shares of tremendous profit. Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are now worth $102 billion and $99 billion, respectively; approximately $40 billion richer, whereas Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook gained $35 billion. Others include Bill Gates (Microsoft) profiting $22 billion, Larry Ellison (Oracle) securing $34 billion, and Michael Dell (Dell) acquiring an additional $19 billion.
Digital consumption and lifestyle have become the new norm. Major retail companies are launching their own online shopping websites. It is not surprising most people would choose to shop online. It is time saving and efficient, easy to find products, and often cheaper. However, this substitution may cost future generations the experience of shopping malls. Crowds outdoors will shrink, and shops, which have a lot more financial commitments such as employees and rent to pay, will be forced to close, cumulatively with the conclusion of malls.