The spread of the coronavirus has had a massive impact on the global economy. But some businesses have found a new lease of life in these difficult times.
Real life house parties are on pause, at least for a little while, with gatherings now limited to no more than two people. But there’s a virtual option, and evidently, last weekend everyone was getting in on the game.
Video app ‘Houseparty’ has been around for a few years - offering group chats and group games - but is now the according to App Annie.
The app has locked and unlocked group chats, which means anyone could decide to join the video call if the lock setting hasn’t been activated.
It alarmed some users, so to tighten security, and make sure there’s no eavesdropping on intimate conversations. Go to settings, which can be accessed by first clicking the smiley face at the top left of the screen, then hit the wheel button when the menu appears.
Then you can turn on private mode locking every room you’re in, meaning you can enjoy all the social media buzz surrounding Houseparty, while keeping your chats locked down.
Australian retailers bucking the trend
The retail sector has seen a massive hit in recent weeks, with fashion stores Cotton On, RM Williams, Country Road and Kathmandu announcing store closures. Some stores, however, are bucking the trend. Electronics retailer Harvey Norman, says it’s comparable sales between the 1st and 17th March increased by 9.4 percent. It’s in stark contrast to the company's half-year results which showed a 0.03 per cent growth.
JB Hi-Fi has experienced a similar upturn in sales. With more people working from home, they’ve enjoyed a rise in sales of home office equipment, including computer monitors and laptops. They’ve also had a run on gaming equipment: only limited stock of Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch consoles remain.
The Reject Shop say they have also experienced a “material increase” in sales in the last month as panic buying began
The stores’ comparable sales over the last few weeks increased by 36.1 percent. This rise was driven by “strong category performances” groceries, cleaning, toiletries and pet care.
Distilleries making hand sanitiser
Sydney’s Archie Rose Distilling Co has been producing a range of spirits since it was founded six years ago. But with the shutdown of non-essential services including bars and restaurants, they began producing hand sanitisers. The first hand sanitisers in the production line were 4,500 units of 500ml bottles, and sold out in less than an hour.
The company’s founder, Will Edwards, told The Feed that demand for hand sanitisers has been unprecedented. After the initial sale, the distillery released two more batches.
“Like all businesses and Australians, Archie Rose is facing some incredibly difficult times,” Edwards told The Feed.
“We’re in a unique position to manufacture this essential product - with the required federal licences, dangerous goods approvals, access to raw materials and expertise - and so we’re now making hand sanitiser our production focus.”
The shutdown has still impacted their business which relied on bars along with restaurants, hotels, duty free and the events industry. But the pivot to hand sanitisers has helped them re-deploy their over 20 bar and hospitality team.
“Most things are pretty surprising at present, this included,” Edwards said.
“We’re just so grateful that it’s allowing us to re-deploy many of our awesome bar staff who we value greatly and would otherwise be out of a job.”
Dining-in is out, but ordering pizza is well and truly in. Domino’s has revealed that they sent out deliveries to more than a quarter of a million households in the country last week.
They were among the first of major companies to announce a recruitment drive as economic impacts of the spread of the virus started to hit, and announced a search for thousands of “Delivery Experts” to keep up with demand.
Domino’s encouraged those who lost jobs due to the outbreak to apply, saying skills in tourism, events and hospitality industries are easily transferable.
Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.