The coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the global economy in strange and unpredictable ways. Stock markets have been in freefall for weeks with the FTSE 100 dropping between five and ten points as markets open each day.

Panic buying has seen supermarket shelves empty. Toilet rolls, antibacterial spray, and hand soap have been snapped up as COVID-19 has progressed. This is against the advice of governments and the stores themselves, who say it is unnecessary.

Confusion about risk of Covid-19 infection

Amidst the widespread confusion about the risk of infection, there has been a renewed focus globally on personal and household hygiene. Reflecting this, sales of Dettol, Calgon, Finish, and Cillit Bang are on the up. All of these brands are part of the Reckitt Benckiser family.

Aside from the positive of an increase in sales, the wider stock markets’ behaviour could present the company with a chance to take the lion’s share of investment in the coming months. With most consumer goods suffering as a result of the outbreak, hygiene products will be seen as a safe bet. Owning so many of them provides Reckitt with a golden opportunity to dominate a rare rising market.

Home entertainments rising in popularity

Netflix has been steadily climbing in share price since the start of the outbreak, with stock up 1.4% since the WHO signalled a global health emergency at the end of January. As public gatherings are being avoided, and in some cases banned, in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19, other ‘stay at home’ stocks are also expected to rise.

Disney+, in its audacious attempt to break into an already established streaming market has perhaps entered at the best possible time. With self quarantined consumers exhausting online content, the demand for new entertainment has never been higher.

The implications for Disney also have a consumer dimension, as one of the largest merchandising companies in the world, their shows are the key driver of sales of toys and video games.

A rise in streaming holds implications for other consumer goods too. Alcohol and snack food deliveries are rising, with Uber-eats’ latest acquisition of Bargain Booze in the UK fuelling the living room party trend.