The online retail giant Amazon reported a huge start to the year, making close to $10,000 every second as shoppers sheltering inside their homes amid the coronavirus crisis looked online for their shopping needs.
According to CBS News, the company reported first-quarter sales of $75.4 billion, a first-quarter record and a reflection of the major increase in online shopping as non-essential stores closed and many shoppers avoided trips to the grocery store. The sales translated to close to $10,000 every second, noted calculations from Christopher Rossbach, a portfolio manager at J. Stern & Co. World Stars Global Equity fund.
In a note to investors, Rossbach said the company’s sales numbers were “staggering.” Other retail and grocery chains have reported increases in sales since the start of the crisis, with Americans focusing on buying essential items as other, non-essential stores, including malls, close down due to state restrictions.
As the CBS News report added, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the sharp increase in sales and Amazon’s ability to process the volume shows the company’s “adaptability and durability,” though he noted that this is “the hardest time we’ve ever faced.” Bezos said Amazon was incurring costs of at least $4 billion related to the coronavirus outbreak, including pay raises for employees, more personal protective equipment, and roughly $300 million to develop internal testing capabilities for the coronavirus. The company has also increased its spending on cleaning and disinfecting warehouse spaces to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among its employees.
Amazon has also experienced pressures from its workforce, including many participating in a nationwide strike of essential workers calling for improved working conditions and better pay. As The Inquisitr noted, workers at a number of companies, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Instacart, and Whole Foods, participated in demonstrations calling on their employers to better protect them from coronavirus on the job and to offer better sick leave for those who fall ill.
Several Amazon employees have been hit by the coronavirus, including a number of warehouse workers who have died after contracting COVID-19.
While the pandemic has led to increased expenses for Amazon in addressing health risks in warehouses, the short-term costs could pay off for the company, Rossbach predicted.
“The crisis will hopefully be short-lived, but the impact on Amazon could be profound over the long term, with over 150 [million] Prime members now active. Habits will form, and many of these people will shop more using Amazon in the future,” Rossbach said.