Non-perishables and video games are skyrocketing.

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With a volatile stock market and layoffs in the millions, you’d think that every company was worse for the wear from the pandemic.[1]

The truth is that some did better than ever.

Here are five companies that oddly thrived during COVID-19 – and how their conditions can affect you as a consumer.

1. Nintendo

Almost everyone has heard of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” a new game where you customize a deserted island and share it with cute anthropomorphic animals. But not everyone knows just how well its parent company, Nintendo, has been doing during COVID-19.

Nintendo has made the U.S. equivalent of $2.4 billion this fiscal year, which is up 33% from the year before.[2] The growth even tripled in the fourth quarter, which was around the time worldwide quarantine began.

Animal Crossing – which was dubbed the fastest-selling game for the company’s premier gaming console, the Nintendo Switch, after it sold 13 million copies in the first six weeks – isn’t the only game flying off the shelves. Sales in all Nintendo games have shot up by about 9%, the company reported.

But demand is driving in drawbacks for potential buyers.

The Nintendo Switch has sold more than 55 million consoles, a number that soars past the sales of two older consoles, the N64 and Gamecube, combined.[3] However, decreased production due to COVID-19 concerns in China, where about 90% of the consoles made for the U.S. come from, along with high demand make it nearly impossible to find a Switch in stores.[4]

The company said it is producing 22 million more units this year. If you want one, you’ll probably have to wait until June.

2. Papa John’s

While other restaurants are finding it difficult to stand on two feet, Papa John’s is easily riding the pandemic’s twists and turns.

April was the company’s best month in its 36-year history, its CEO Robert Lynch said. Its North American sales shot up by 27%, and its stock is up by almost 22% in 2020.[5]

With the need for delivered food skyrocketing and the introduction of the staggeringly popular “Papadia” flatbread sandwich, one million new and lapsed customers logged into Papa John’s website in April alone, Lynch said.[6]

Papa John’s even announced that it will hire up to 20,000 more employees to meet up with delivery demands. Some will be able to apply and start working on the same day, the company said in a press release.[7]

During the pandemic, Papa John’s is offering no-contact delivery – including sales from third-party delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates.

And given how well the company is doing, it can afford to give special discounts during the pandemic through their own delivery service and the third-party services. The offers vary by location, so check online to see what you can get.

3. Nike

It’s true that Nike stock has dropped by 13% since January. But it’s also true that it’s currently 22% higher than it was at the beginning of 2019, and 46% higher than the start of 2018.[8]

Nike is doing particularly well in China, even among COVID-19 concerns. Its digital business in China grew by 30% in the third quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, and all locations in China have opened again.

The company reported that its overall profit was 8% higher than it was in 2019’s third quarter, and all digital sales have shot up by 36%.[9]

The company is even making enough to give some products away. It donated over 30,000 pairs of shoes[10] designed for healthcare workers to hospitals all over America in May and 290,000 units of personal protective equipment like masks and face shields to hospitals all over America in May.[11]

But the benefits expand to customers, too. The company dropped all subscription fees, which used to cost $14.99 a month, for the Nike Training Club Premium service.[12] The streaming library has more than 180 workouts from 15 minutes to 60 minutes.

Sales of up to 50% are also popping up online, so snatch what you can while you can.[13]

4. J.M. Smucker Company

It turns out that non-perishables aren’t just good for hurricanes and food drives.

America’s craving for peanut butter and jelly, while many are stuck at home, has driven up demand for J.M. Smucker Company’s stocks. Zack’s Equity Research, which analyzes stocks, recently ranked the company No. 1 for food stocks to invest in at the beginning of May.[14]

The company said it expects earnings per share to be above $8.30.[15] In 2019’s fiscal year, that number was $4.52 per share. And while other companies are shutting down,[16] Smucker’s is ramping up production at all manufacturing plants.[17]

Smucker’s has also introduced new products[18] during the pandemic’s frozen food boom.[19] The company took its classic “Uncrustables,” which are pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without the crust, and filled it with meat instead to make four new flavors: Taco Bites, BBQ Chicken Bites, Uncured Ham & Cheddar Roll-Ups and Turkey and Colby Jack Roll-Ups.

The company is also optimistic about its 2020 fiscal year outcomes. It predicts that net sales will only be down 1% as opposed to their projection of 3% and that it will have more than $850 million after paying for operating expenses and capital expenditures.[20]

So don’t expect Jif to be off the shelves anytime soon. Its likely shortages will be quieted by the increased production rates.

5. The Clorox Company

It’s not much of a surprise that Clorox, one of America’s leading suppliers of cleaning tools, is racking in business during the pandemic.[21]

The company’s net earnings leaped to $187 million last year to $241 million in 2020’s fiscal year.[22] Its cleaning product sales also jumped by 32% in the third quarter, while all sales across the board increased by 15%.

Overall, the company said that it expects that all 2020 sales will have grown between four and six percent from 2019’s fiscal year.

The amount of people buying Clorox shares has also increased by 27%, while the actual stock price has risen by 6% to $197 per share.

Clorox said it has seen a 500% demand increase for its disinfectants, and empty shelves at stores reflect that. Clorox CEO Benno Dorer said that the products won’t be back in full force until summer.[23]

In the meantime, Clorox has ramped up production – and that’s on top of already producing 40 million more items in the first quarter of 2020 than it did in 2019.[24] With any luck, you’ll finally be able to buy Clorox wipes by July.

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About the Author

Hope Dean

Hope Dean

Hope Dean is a senior studying journalism at the University of Florida. She works as the enterprise editor at the Independent Florida Alligator and previously worked at the Florida Atlantic University student-run newspaper the University Press as the news, features and managing editor.

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