As Coronavirus spreads in the United States we will continue to see companies send employees home that can use technology to perform their jobs duties, but what about employment that revolves around human interaction. Retail, restaurants, and travel/entertainment are among the industries most susceptible to folks staying at home.
Will school and work places close? Will people stay at home and look for entertainment inside? What effects will this have on consumerism and shipping? Staples such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies will still need to be stocked and perhaps will cause an increase in shipping to individuals. However, consumer discretionary which is spending on the "extras" should decline dramatically. We do not yet know the net outcome of the change in consumer spending.
The shipping world is built on consumer spending and we will see a decline in that area. In our specialized field of medical we too are aware of repercussions of quarantine. Lack of individual drivers and couriers willing to deliver to places of risk including the airport and hospitals. Less doctors scheduling elective surgeries, but increases in pharma shipping.
Overall, as people choose not to venture to super markets, big box stores, and local small businesses to grab their essentials, they will turn to shipping to fulfill this need.
This virus has an approximate one year life span due to the cycle of rolling out a vaccine. This could have a lasting effect on the shipping industry as direct to consumer shipping of household items becomes norm. Short term, the shipping industry will struggle along side of every other industry, but long term this could create new opportunities for shippers as the volume of households ordering online increases as well as number of households relying on couriers to deliver goods.