Human lives are the paramount concern regarding the topic of coronavirus. Yet it is prudent to consider the impact it may have, including the economic one. While the depth of the impact is hard to predict, there are indications there may be a ripple effect should the current trends continue.
Shop From Home Trend
There have been videos of Wuhan posted that show deserted streets. Other affected cities have similarly become eerily deserted.
It’s been suggested that if the outbreak worsens that it will shift more purchases online. The reason is because more people will be reluctant to leave their homes to shop.
I’ve been on house arrest for the past 8 weeks due to a broken ankle, and yes, Amazon has become my new best friend. As folks begin to stay home, I definitely expect some major societal changes, for better or worse.
— Amy Toman 🏖 (@BubblesUp) February 29, 2020
Conferences are beginning to cancel their events. Rakuten Advertising just cancelled their DealMaker London event that had been scheduled for April 1, 2020.
Google cancelled their April 6, 2020 CloudNext conference in San Francisco and decided to stream it instead and cancelled a Las Vegas event scheduled for March.
Travel Predicted to Suffer
The chairman of IAC warned that Expedia was expected to earn $30 to $40 million dollars less because of the effects of the coronavirus.
Travel is an important affiliate niche in itself. But it also affects local based businesses in the restaurant and hospitality niches.
Looming Product Shortages
Oakland, CA is a port of entry for Chinese goods. News reports state that almost 20% of ships scheduled to unload in Oakland have cancelled.
Less supplies means less inventory.
According to the Harvard Business Review:
“We predict that the peak of the impact of Covid-19 on global supply chains will occur in mid-March, forcing thousands of companies to throttle down or temporarily shut assembly and manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Europe.
The most vulnerable companies are those which rely heavily or solely on factories in China for parts and materials. The activity of Chinese manufacturing plants has fallen in the past month and is expected to remain depressed for months.”
The situation is similar in Los Angeles, CA ports where there are over 25% cancellations according to the Wall Street Journal.
This may at some point affect merchants who sell Chinese products (and their affiliates) as well as affiliates who depend on sales of Chinese made goods on Amazon.
Coronavirus Impact on SEO Consulting
The search marketing community tends to think of SEO as being about ranking number one in search engines. But ranking is not the end it’s just the means. The goal of ranking is sales.
Ranking number one means nothing if there are no sales and that’s what happened in the 2008 recession, sales collapsed across a wide range of industries.
This affected search marketing because clients dropped off because they could no longer afford to pay for consulting.
Some industries managed to keep earning. Yet I recall that many had to discount fees to hang on to long term clients whose earnings fell due to the recession.
Everything Else is Everything Else
We occupy an uncertain moment in time, on the cusp of a potentially historic event. It’s important to think of ways to prepare.