When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in 2020, most of the world came to a standstill. People were confined to their homes, businesses, and workplaces closed during lockdowns, and nobody was entirely sure what to expect in the coming months.
This uncertainty was compounded by citizens around the globe needing to earn an income—and to spend it so that businesses and industries would stay alive. Sadly, while many countries implemented measures to minimize the economic damage caused by the virus, many industries faltered, with countless businesses shutting their doors permanently.
Between 2020 and 2021, the UK government removed around 192,400 businesses from its business register. This was evident in the country’s GDP, which dropped by 9.7% in 2020—the steepest drop since 1948.
Despite this, several industries and many businesses boomed. In fact, some of these businesses became even more popular during the pandemic and managed to report record profits.
Many of these were online businesses like e-commerce, OTT services (like BritBox), and even some of the more popular iGaming sites in the UK. Below, we’ve listed the companies that boomed during lockdowns.
One of the biggest businesses that benefited during lockdowns was AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company based in Cambridge. This is because it was among the first companies contracted to produce one of the initial trial vaccines for the coronavirus.
After gaining around £800 million in funding from the UK government to help produce the vaccine, the company’s share price increased 33% by November 2020. This increase added a market value of around £6.94 billion to the company in just a few months.
Thanks to this massive bump and the continued production of a COVID-19 vaccine, the company is now valued at £120 per share (or around £163.2 billion overall).
Based in Hatfield, England, this online retailer saw a massive surge in orders while consumers were in lockdown. This influx of orders boosted the company’s growth and caused an increase in the share price of almost 80% by December 2020.
This growth also impacted the company’s revenue—and indeed for the better. The site reported revenue of £1.02 billion between October 2019 and September 2020. By comparison, during the same period of the previous year, the site posted revenue of only £786.2 million.
Sadly, while the company enjoyed massive profits during the pandemic, sales recently returned to almost pre-COVID levels. This has resulted in a decrease in stock price to around the same levels as in 2019.
As one of the biggest iGaming providers in the UK, Ireland-based Flutter offers sports betting and online casino services. The demand for these services skyrocketed during lockdown due to all physical casinos closing.
While the company did complete the acquisition of The Stars Group in 2020—contributing to the increase in worth—the company still posted revenue of £4.04 billion. This revenue increased 105.5% year on year and showed that many UK citizens flocked to online casinos during the lockdown.
Unfortunately, as more people return to brick-and-mortar casinos, the company has lost some value into 2022. However, because of the revenue generated during the lockdown, it is still poised to grow exponentially into the future.
Foodhub is a food delivery service that allows you to order takeout via your smartphone and have it delivered to your home, work, or wherever you happen to be. Launched in 2017, the company didn’t have much firm footing compared to competitors when lockdowns arrived.
However, with the onset of lockdowns, demand for food delivery in the UK increased an estimated 66%. This additional demand boosted the company and helped it grow from a £3 million turnover in 2017 to almost £30 million in 2020.
This additional revenue has allowed it to become the third-biggest food delivery service in the UK. In fact, it currently supports more restaurants than mega competitor Uber Eats. This growth is continuing as the company looks at additional international expansion options.
Online clothing retailer ASOS faced a tough challenge entering 2020. After a disastrous year in 2019, in which the company issued two profit warnings, the company’s value fell almost 60%. Alongside this, profits fell a further 68%.
However, with people forced to shop for things online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company made a miraculous comeback. While revenue only increased from £2.73 billion in 2019 to £3.26 billion in 2020, the company managed to post record profits.
The company posted profits of £151.1 million in 2020 (£35.1 million in 2019), a 330% increase from the year before. This windfall has secured the company’s reputation, and in 2021 the company boasted 26.4 million active users of its website.
While many companies closed due to the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, the companies mentioned above are proof that there were undoubtedly some businesses that benefited. As a result, they are now perched for future expansion and can strengthen their positions in their respective industries.
However, many companies are still reeling from the lockdowns and loss of revenue. These companies may not have closed their doors yet but may be forced to do so as they struggle to return to pre-COVID sales.
To assist these companies, the UK government is again looking at ways to assist businesses in recovering from the lockdowns and reduced economic activity of 2020 and 2021. Hopefully, these measures will help turn things around and there will be even more success stories of businesses having weathered the COVID storm and coming out stronger.