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Regions in India and other countries all around the world have been separated on the basis of size, population, state boundaries and many other basis of classification. For the first time in our lives, now places have been classified on the basis of the number of people who are infected with COVID-19. Places in India have been classified into Green, Orange and Red Zones on the basis of the number of people infected at a particular point of time. Green zones are areas with least number of people infected, Orange zones are those with limited number of infected people, and Red Zones are the regions with the most occurrences of the virus. The pandemic has also taken a toll on the economy and industries. This 3 article series by FIC highlights and classifies industries into Green, Orange and Red depending on how the pandemic has affected the operations of the industry.

Orange Industry The world economy has started to head towards a recession. However, in the hardest of times one can find a silver lining presenting itself. To make use of this silver lining it is imperative that one must change and adapt to grab this opportunity. This is what some industries have managed to do, and that is why they have fared better than otherwise expected in these terrible times. Initially the future of these industries looked rather bleak, but with innovations and adjustments, they have managed to pull through. These industries are working on maintaining safety standards and procedures in order to continue serving their customers.

In the life of any 21st Century millennial, one of the most common practices is online shopping – not only because of the ease of it but because anything and everything one needs is available at the touch of a finger. When lockdowns were announced in different parts of the world, package deliveries were halted for sometime, with exceptions present in some countries. Amazon, the largest e-commerce website also took a hit due to the pandemic. On 28th February, Amazon’s stock stood at $1883.75, and after cases of COVID-19 started emerging in large numbers, the stock price took a major hit and dropped down to $1676.61 on the 12th of March. This was a major setback for the company and certain changes were made to get back on track. In countries like India, where payment on delivery mode is available, all e-commerce sites were forced to follow a policy of electronic means of payment only. Along with this, distance delivery was also introduced where instead of making direct contact, the deliveries would be handed over while maintaining social distancing. Amazon’s grocery delivery orders increased significantly as well. One thing which can be observed on the basis of past trends is that online wallets such as Paytm became widely used during demonetization. Similarly, grocery delivery may become a major part of Amazon and other companies’ cash flow even after the pandemic is over. After these measures were taken, the stock rose to $2474.00.

Closely linked to the e-commerce industry is the packaging and delivery industry. Since, most transportation has been halted in several parts of the world, services such as FedEx or USPS haven’t been doing well. FedEx, the shipping giant has taken a big hit in the pandemic, and its stock price reached a low of $90.49. In Indian markets, Blue Dart also saw a major dip in stock price in a matter of 9 days after the first lockdown was announced. However, now that deliveries are allowed once again, this industry is hoping to be back on its feet in the near future. The food and restaurant industry all over the world has suffered, and employees have been laid off in large numbers due to very low operational capacity during the pandemic. For a year or so, the mode of operation will have to be changed, as governments around the world have announced strict social distancing precautions – it is in fact more viable to operate on the lines of a take-away/delivery service. Even though restaurants have reopened, it will be a long time before they can resume activities at full scale. Trying to establish itself as a key player in the post-COVID world, Zomato has introduced contact-less dining. The concept revolves around minimal contact in restaurants. Diners will simply be using a QR Code to order their food and pay for it all via the Zomato app. It will be a while before one can determine if this initiative will be a success or not. But it is certainly an innovative one.

The entertainment industry has been impacted heavily since theaters all around the world have shut operations and new movies have had to shift their release dates. Some production houses have decided to release their movies On Demand and on OTT services. Amazon India has announced its plans to be the platform for releasing a multitude of movies which were supposed to release on the big screen. Speculations have been made regarding some movies opting for the same as well. While box offices will not be wiped out, the streaming service industry has definitely cemented itself as the number one entertainment provider and is here to stay for quite some time. While orange industries may well survive, they will emerge from the pandemic with different outlooks and different modes of business.

By Rishabh Khetawat and Iman Bhatti.

This article is the second part of a three-part series focussed on examining the industrial impact of the pandemic.


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