Every Monday morning, a team of Access media mavens gathers to read the latest trends and topics covered in print media (yes, we still read print media!). The team shares these insights agency wide to ensure we’re all informed and equipped for the week ahead. Every week, we’ll share learnings from the consumer, business and tech spaces here on the Access Point.
This week, as COVID-19 continues to be at the forefront of the daily news cycle, we learned how brands in the retail and tech spaces are reacting and evolving.
Retailers are struggling to keep third-party sellers from charging exorbitant prices for disinfecting supplies like hand sanitizers as fears rise and consumers looking to stock up quickly flee to Amazon. According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has removed tens of thousands of items due to unreasonably high prices and is taking action against sellers in the fight against false claims and price gouging. The article states that U.S. sales of hand sanitizer were up 54% for the week ending February 22 (Sharon Terlep, The Wall Street Journal).
Tech giants have vowed to fight the spread of misinformation related to the coronavirus epidemic as conspiracy theories, rumors and other false info flourishes. Facebook and Twitter have reportedly both tweaked their search results for “coronavirus” to direct users to reputable medical sources. Facebook is also contracting people around the world to review content and determine if it is misleading. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the spread of false health information can be more damaging than that related to political agendas because it undercuts science and confidence in institutions, and can cause people to make dangerous decisions about their health (Sebastian Herrera, The Wall Street Journal).
Though not necessarily known for being a booming industry, airport shops are beginning to face the impact of coronavirus as foot traffic drops in popular stores in airports, both in the U.S. and around the world. According to The Wall Street Journal and a report by travel-research specialist Pi Insight, a higher portion of travelers now “want to go straight to the departure gate,” meaning less time for lingering, shopping, etc. As a result, various authorities are beginning to offer rent relief for retail, dining and service operators (Esther Fung, The Wall Street Journal).
The biggest names in ride-sharing and food delivery are discussing how to setup a fund to compensate drivers affected by coronavirus, another instance that reflects the pressure they face to provide their employees with broader protections. As independent contractors most drivers don’t receive PTO, which would provide them with compensation should they choose to take time off when they’re not feeling well. A decision is expected in the coming days (Preetika Rana, The Wall Street Journal.)