Can Amazon keep the economy on life support?

Can Amazon keep the economy on life support?

So Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple, computer games, virtual reality and online education markets could see the benefits.

On conservative estimates, Roy Morgan says, Australians 14 years of age or more already spend 21.9 billion hours of our collective 118 billion waking hours a year using the internet. A further 18.6 billion hours are spent watching TV and 14.6 billion hours spent listening to radio.

Virtual reality could easily catch on too. In 2017, the global augmented reality and virtual reality market size stood at $US11.35 billion ($19 billion) and the industry is forecasted to reach $US571 ($978 billion) by 2025.

There may be a boom in online retailing, too. Amazon, Kogan, Alibaba, Ebay and Gumtree are more than capable of providing the country’s shopping needs and Uber Eats, Woolworths and Coles delivery can help deliver groceries too.

Rise in home care services

The coronavirus shutdown could accelerate the online buying culture faster than expected. By 2030, online shopping is expected to grow from about 8 per cent of sales to between 15 per cent and 20 per cent,  according to retail expert Stuart Harker.

Korda Mentha partner Mark Korda says the coronavirus shutdown will change consumer habits.

“I think there will be significant shifts and changes in the way consumers buy. Capitalism does have a way of getting people to change slots,” Korda says.

But outside online retailing, consumption (and with it GST revenue and company tax revenue) is going to take a hit unless more services are home delivered.

We are already seeing a rise in home care health services.

In 2015-16, almost 90,000 people accessed home care packages. By 2021-22 the number of home care packages is predicted to reach 140,000. The Productivity Commission expects a more patient-centred health approach and the federal government is spending more money on home care.

In the end, it will all depend on how consumers spend. Last week’s CBA and ANZ credit and debit card data showed a huge surge in food and medicines buying but a massive drop in services spending. Much of the ramp-up in spending was panic buying that won’t last.

With such a result, we should expect that a period of “hikikomori” in Australia will make it very difficult to keep the economy alive.

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