For most, living during a worldwide pandemic doesn’t exactly make conditions ripe for prosperity and business success. Regardless of the industry, sector, or career path, COVID-19 and the lockdowns enforced by governments around the world have cast a cloud of uncertainty over the income and futures of everyone. But apparently for billionaire Jeff Bezos, even a pandemic can’t halt his net worth from increasing.
According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos is one of few billionaires to have seen an increase in his net worth since the beginning of the year. But if you thought it was merely just ticking upwards, think again. His net worth had an incredible surge of $24 billion USD, increasingly roughly 20 per cent over the last four months to a total of $138 billion USD in April.
In some ways it’s surprising, given the fact that Amazon has had to confront the pandemic head-on and adapt to the changing nature of consumer demand. Yes, the company has seen a surge in purchases in the last few months as more people are staying home due to quarantine restrictions. But Amazon isn’t immune to a virus, and consequently the company has struggled to manage its warehouses and staff, even reporting the first death of a warehouse worker related to COVID-19. Now, Amazon’s staff are voicing concerns about their safety as they fear working under such conditions will make them susceptible to COVID-19.
The company has faced greater scrutiny as it continues to operate during COVID-19. It said it would prioritise the delivery of household essentials like baby formula and hand sanitisers, while also providing customers with its Amazon Fresh service which allows it to deliver produce and groceries to customers. This is also in keeping with the fact that it’s continued to keep its Whole Foods stores open, albeit with adjusted hours and a focus on online orders.
And while the retail giant had temporarily paused shipping non-essential items into its warehouses, it has since announced that it will resume doing so. Since then, the company’s stock price has hit an all-time high as of Tuesday last week, closing at $2,283.32 USD and lifting its market cap to $1.14 trillion USD, according to Business Insider.
While it appears Bezos is certainly profiting from increased demand for Amazon products in light of the coronavirus, it’s concerning to hear the issues raised by his staff whose health should certainly be a priority. Perhaps this is a cautionary tale for all of us, to look after our employees and, where possible, shop local.