Coronavirus Impacts eCommerce, Business Travel


The coronavirus has wide-reaching effects on eCommerce, technology, medicine, business travel and the economy. Here are the latest updates on its impacts around the world.

Shares of Wayfair fell as much as 26 percent on Friday (Feb.28), and the stock had lost 22 percent already this year, Bloomberg reported. The furniture eCommerce retailer reportedly relies on China for half of its merchandise. It expects first-quarter net revenue to be from $2.235 billion to $2.275 billion. Wayfair said its outlook didn’t involve any meaningful virus impact, but it is witnessing some supply chain interruptions.

Meanwhile, mobile apps that monitor the coronavirus are popular in South Korea, CNN Business reported. Bae Won-Seok, one of the developers of Corona 100m, told the outlet, “The installs are increasing about 20,000 every hour.” The app lets users view the date an infected person was confirmed to have the coronavirus in addition to the age, gender and nationality of the patient along with where he or she visited.

In other news, Amazon is instructing its employees to put off travel that is non-essential, including domestic trips, Reuters reported, in a move to protect against the spread of the coronavirus among its workers. The decision by the eCommerce retailer impacts one of the biggest workforces in the U.S. The firm had 798,000 full- and part-time workers in its employ around the world as of the end of last year.

On another note, the top sponsors of GDC keep pulling out of the California gaming event, according to TechCrunch. Amazon announced Friday (Feb. 28) that it won’t be sending employees to the gathering. Sony, Facebook, Unity, Microsoft and Epic Games have departed from the event. Amazon Game Tech is a “diamond partner” at the event this year, and the only partners of such status that haven’t yet officially pulled out are Nvidia, Google and Intel.

Meanwhile, the spread of the coronavirus has caused the World Health Organization (WHO) to increase its risk impact alert, Reuters reported. The newest numbers from the WHO show that more than 82,000 people have become infected. The WHO said it was increasing its assessment of worldwide risk from “high” to “very high.” Dr. Mike Ryan, its head of emergencies, said, “I think this is a reality check for every government on the planet. Wake up, get ready. This virus may be on its way, and you need to be ready.”

In other news, consumer spending decelerated last month and could lose more steam amid the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. A senior U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, Lydia Boussour, said, “Consumers shielded the economy from global headwinds for most of 2019, but they won’t prove immune to the coronavirus outbreak.” The Commerce Department noted that consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in January as the weather that was unusually mild undercut sales at apparel stores and decreased heating demand.

And, the Food and Drug Administration said the pharmaceutical space noted its first medicine shortage because of the coronavirus, CNBC reported. The FDA reportedly said the shortage has to do with a place of manufacturing affected by the virus in China. The agency said, “It is important to note that there are other alternatives that can be used by patients. We are working with the manufacturer as well as other manufacturers to mitigate the shortage.”