"We are seeing a significant increase in demand,which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,"Dave Clark,the company's senior vice president of worldwide operations,explained in a blog post.
The coronavirus pandemic has jolted societies across the world to a degree not seen for generations,presenting a dire public health emergency while wreaking economic havoc.Yet the nature of a crisis that has effectively ground the economy to a halt has also resulted in at least a short-term boon for the world's largest online vendor,even as a strike on Monday by some of its workers drew attention to the treatment of its own employees during the crisis.
"Yes,"Michael Pachter,an analyst who covers Amazon for the investment firm Wedbush Securities,writes over email,"the pandemic is definitely resulting in more business for Amazon."
“是的，”投资公司韦德布什证券公司（Wedbush Securities）负责亚马逊业务的分析师迈克尔·帕切特（Michael Pachter）在电子邮件中写道，“冠状病毒大流行肯定会为亚马逊带来更多业务。”
Like most companies,Amazon has dramatically altered its practices in light of the new reality brought by COVID-19.On March 16,as the severity of the outbreak in the United States was still coming into focus,an update on its seller page announced that the platform was"temporarily prioritizing household staples,medical supplies,and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive,restock,and deliver these products to customers."
For an online giant that built its popularity largely by guaranteeing quick deliveries,the decision represented a logistical bombshell with vast implications:Even as millions of Americans were suddenly quarantined at home,and more likely to shop online as most physical stores remained closed,estimated delivery times for what the company deemed non-essential products jumped in many cases from one or two days to more than a month.In Italy and France,the company decided to stop non-essential deliveries altogether.
Some vendors who depend on the platform reluctantly supported the new rules,but they outraged some third-party sellers,who saw an attack on their livelihoods."Amazon just put tons of businesses out of business.Destroyed thousands of jobs amidst a crisis,"one seller complained online.
The company has also come under firefrom workers who feel their employer has all but abandoned them even as it struggles to meet the extraordinary consumer demand presented by the crisis.Warehouse employees have complained about a lack of sanitation supplies such as hand sanitizer,gloves and masks,as well as the limited set of options for those who don't feel it's safe to come into work.Last week,the company closed one delivery center in Queens after a worker tested positive for COVID-19,only to reopen the next day,a decision that sparked further criticism.
A group of workers walked off the job at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island on Monday in an effort to demand greater safeguards against the coronavirus.Meanwhile,Whole Worker,a workers group for Whole Foods employees,called for a nationwide"sick out"on Tuesday in an effort to demand paid leave for all workers who must isolate themselves and higher pay to address the risks of coming to work.(Amazon owns Whole Foods.)
周一，一群工人从史泰登岛的亚马逊仓库中辞职，以期要求采取更严格的预防冠状病毒的措施。同时，全食超市（Whole Foods）员工组成的工人团体全民劳工组织（Whole Workers）周二呼吁在全国范围内“罢/工”，以要求为所有需要自我隔离的工人提供带薪休假，并为上班的员工提高工资，以应对上班的风险。（在亚马逊拥有的全食超市。）
"It's made me so furious to see all of these managers say we're doing the best we can,but you look at anything from the outside world and so many people are working from home,"William Stolz,an Amazon warehouse worker in Minnesota,told CNBC.
Executives maintain the company is doing all it can to address the needs of its employees while also acting in the greater public health interest.In an internal memo to workers that was also made public,CEO Jeff Bezos declared he was"now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role."In a time of crisis,he went on,the company is"providing a vital service to people everywhere,especially to those,like the elderly,who are most vulnerable."
As part of its pandemic response,the retail giant has also vowed to combat price gouging and has pulled over 1 million products that made false claims related to the coronavirus,measures that have drawn praise by business experts.
"I think they are being good corporate citizens,"says Michael Cusumano,a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-author of"The Business of Platforms:Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition,Innovation,and Power.""But at the same time,"he adds,"Amazon is not in business simply as a charity.I mean,they are a pretty aggressive,profit-seeking and revenue-seeking machine at this point,so I don't expect Jeff Bezos to do things,at least in the long run,that would harm the company."
Throughout the pandemic Amazon's stock price has fared far better than the overall market:Since late February,when indices notched record highs,Amazon's share price has fallen roughly9%,compared to the S&P 500's staggering 23%drop.
But in the slightly longer run,analysts say,the immediate online demand surge will also be offset by the looming recession–millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic output lost to COVID-19 also means a colossal drop in retail purchases,online or otherwise."Relative to everybody else,they're benefitting tremendously,"adds Pachter."But the downturn is going to hit everybody."
Less clear is how the company may fare in an economy fundamentally reshaped by the coronavirus.Pachter predicts Amazon will ultimately assume as much as 15%of the nation's overall grocery market share,with the company's delivery business kick-started by the crisis.Cusumano predicts that Amazon Web Services,the cloud computing operation that actually accounts for the bulk of Amazon's profit,will see a long-term boost as COVID-19 inspires a shift to more remote work even after the initial urgency of the crisis has passed.
目前尚不清楚该公司如何在一个被冠状病毒彻底改变的经济中取得成功。帕切特（Pachter）预测，随着危机的爆发，亚马逊的送货业务最终将占亚马逊整个杂货市场总份额的15％。库苏玛诺（Cusumano）预测，在危机最初的紧迫期过去之后，已由冠状病毒所推动的远程工作将使占亚马逊大部分利润的云计算业务Amazon Web Services将获得长期的发展。
That trend may also accelerate the country's years-long shift toward online retail,further consolidating the company's dominance."Even if it's just moderate increases that are permanent,"says Cusumano,"Amazon benefits more than anybody else because it's bigger than anybody else."