A tenet of business theory says that during a downturn, companies need to invest in order to come out stronger on the other side. As the COVID-19 pandemic upends entire industries, here are three businesses that have taken steps to respond—and are already reaping the benefits. 

Deciding in 2017 to push online sales proved prescient for Adidas. Said CEO Kasper Rorsted: “We’re seeing a fast-forwarding of the digital transformation.”

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted made the prescient decision in 2017 to emphasize online offerings. In the half-year 2020 earnings call, he said, “We’re seeing a fast-forwarding of the digital transformation.…In the first half [of fiscal 2020], more than one-third of our sales—our own e-com and partners—were digital.” That bodes well for the German company’s ambitious goal of doing €4 billion (roughly U.S.$4.7 billion) a year in online sales. 

Samsung Electronics saw a Q3 operating profit of 12.3 trillion won (U.S.$10.6 billion) in 2020, a 58% jump from 2019. The pandemic caused little disruption at the South Korean company’s highly automated plants at home and in China. TM Roh, president and head of the company’s Mobile Communications Business, identified three strategic priorities for mobile technology: meaningful innovations to improve things like video chat technology; open collaboration with Google and Microsoft to let users more easily connect and share information; and operational agility to support efficiency while anticipating future trends. 

Amazon got a boost when quarantined consumers expanded what they’re buying online to include staples like groceries and over-the-counter drugs. By the end of June 2020, Amazon’s stock price was up nearly $1,000 from just a few months prior; as July drew to a close, the company’s market cap exceeded $1.5 trillion. CEO Jeff Bezos, predicting a strong, continued demand for thee-commerce juggernaut’s services, has even offered the option of staying on full time to 125,000 of its 175,000 temporary hires added during the pandemic.

This article appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Insigniam Quarterly. To begin receiving IQ, go here.

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