Consequences for the economy caused by coronavirus-related measures

It is fair to say with confidence that the quarantine and self-isolation regimes associated with the coronavirus pandemic have affected the world economy in the most negative way. Leaders of states limited economic activity by promising to provide support to affected entrepreneurs and private individuals.

The Government of Russia and the Central Bank of Russia have been instructed to develop measures that will help businesses and citizens to overcome the consequences of a forced economic cessation.

The shock from stopping activities was first experienced by small and medium-sized enterprises. Even if the restrictions are lifted by mid-May, not everyone will be able to open and resume work. 1,5 months is a sufficient period for changing consumer preferences. Customers have already switched to competitors in online stores or have redefined priorities. The customer base is lost, but most importantly, the supply chain is extremely difficult to restore. Shops selling consumer goods have a chance to recover, as pent-up demand for goods and everyday necessities is accumulating. Supermarkets and grocery stores, as well as e-commerce, will remain profitable. IT companies developing software for remote work, training and managing production processes will grow.

Forced suspension of activity and the lack of real state support create the risk of entrepreneurs leaving for the shadow economy. During the time of self-isolation, entrepreneurs will be convinced that there is no need to rent an expensive premises, bear the costs of its maintenance, pay salaries to support staff and huge taxes. Entrepreneurs optimize their business: they liquidate offices and will hire staff to order. Due to widespread reductions, it will not be a problem to find qualified personnel in the labor market.

The closure of industries across the country is launching a process that is dangerous with long-term consequences. The total shutdown of enterprises causes a colossal drop in energy consumption, which leads to a drop in profits for power engineers and all companies associated with this industry, from generating companies to sellers of electric automatic machines. As a result, one should expect an increase in tariffs, which will negatively affect industrial enterprises. Other non-tax payments, such as excise taxes or business permits, will increase. For a deficit-free budget, the price of oil should be at least 45 USD or more. In conditions of low oil prices, the simplest solution to eliminate the budget deficit is to increase mandatory payments.

It is hoped that artificially blocking supplies and closing borders will give impetus to revise the supply chains towards their reduction. Large enterprises manufacturing high value-added products will conclude that it is advantageous to produce components in their country. Violation of obligations under the contract due to non-delivery on time from abroad of auxiliary products of low redistribution leads to the loss of reputation, customers and money. Localization is the only sure way to secure production by abandoning minor benefits. Cost will be less important than reliability of supply. Russian companies will be able to receive orders from large metallurgical and chemical enterprises, from the sphere of woodworking and automotive industry. New facilities will be created. Enterprises will expand the product line: the wider the range, the higher the competitiveness.

But there will be more negative consequences. The business will not recover in the same volume. Entrepreneurs will not develop infrastructure for business, because they do not know when a new crisis will come, therefore they will be careful. The number of fraudulent companies and “businessmen” wishing to solve their problems and enrich themselves through the honest working companies will increase.

Consumer demand will not recover, as consumers lose their jobs. No domestic demand - no incentive to recover. Imports will decline due to the unfavorable exchange rate.
Due to lower consumption, freight traffic will decrease.
The entertainment and tourism industries will not reach the pre-crisis level any time soon, as consumer preferences will shift towards the most necessary things.

Jobs in big cities will be reduced. Dismissed people will return to their hometowns. In summer and autumn, they will be able to find seasonal work on sowing and harvesting. Huge residential complexes built for citizens arriving from regions will be without buyers. At the same time, the state plans to allocate 150 billion rubles to developers, for which it will be able to buy unclaimed housing.

Large enterprises with state support will be the most stable. It is doubtful that the measures taken by the Government to support small and medium-sized enterprises will compensate even to a small extent the damage from restrictive measures related to the coronavirus - damage not only to entrepreneurs, but also to the entire economy of the country. According to various estimates, GDP will drop to 10%. The Central Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Economic Development are more optimistic and forecast a decrease of 1.5-2%.

After 2008, it took 2.5 years to overcome the effects of the crisis. The current crisis may be longer. Anticipating more serious consequences, some countries put the viability of the national economy a priority and did not impose severe restrictions. Looking at the statistics of diseases COVID-19 today, Sweden and Belarus are far from the forefront of the victims.

For the period of restrictive measures and overcoming their consequences, business needs to be exempted from taxes, instead of deferred payment. Reducing the tax burden, reducing the number of inspections and eliminating the conflicting requirements of regulatory bodies could certainly help still working companies.

TOP-10 of the most expensive Runet companies

In the era of information technology headed by the Internet and computer, the emergence of Internet companies is not surprising. Today, an increasing number of entrepreneurs create Online business. Using the Information and Analytical system Globas, the Information Agency Credinform selected TOP-10 Runet companies in term of net asset value, and analyzed their 2018 income.

The companies’ value was assessed according to the financial accounts through the net asset value.

Net asset value is the value of a fund's assets minus any liabilities and expenses.

Table 1. Value of the Internet companies of Russia and their 2018 income
No. Name Income for 2018, billion RUB Value of a company, billion RUB
1 Mail.ru Groupmai.ru Group 43,8 +9,8% 129,2 -2,6%
2 Yandex
117,4 +27,9% 79,6 -6,3%
65,7 +19,4% 5,5 +8,3%
70,0 +46,8% 3,6 +109,4%
5 Rambler Group
3,4 +1,9% 2,9 +2,6%
6 ivi
4,8 +81,5% 2,5 +28,8%
7 HeadHunter
6,4 +30,6% 2,4 -46,1%
4,8 +81,5% 2,5 +28,8%
9 Avito
20,1 +28,8% 2,3 -34,2%
10 Lamoda
31,5 +14,3% 2,2 +327,0%

The ranking is headed by Mail.ru Group with the highest net asset value (129,2billion RUB). The company’s 2018 income exceeded 43 billion RUB. Mail.ru Group is a Russian technology company. The main activity is connected with the World Wide Web and is concentrated in several sectors: innovation, investment and entertainment. The company owns social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki with over 800 million registered users. In addition, the holding owns the MAPS.ME mapping service, Internet service of free ads YULA, YouDrive car sharing and Delivery Club food delivery platform.

The second is the Russian transnational company Yandex (79,6 billion RUB). The company owns the Yandex search engine, which is included in the TOP- 20 most visited websites in the world (11th position). A bill introduced in 2019, limiting the stake of foreign shareholders in IT giants, contributed to a 6,3% reduction in the company's value. The ultimate owner (100% ownership interest) of the company LLC YANDEX N.V., registered in the Netherlands. The company's income for 2018 is the highest among the others included in the Top (117,4 billion RUB). The corporation also owns food delivery platform (Yandex.Eda), a map service (Yandex.Maps), taxi fleet (Yandex.Taxi) and car sharing (Yandex.Drive). In September 2018, Yandex completed a large-scale transaction to purchase a stake in Uber (an American taxi service). The transaction is estimated at 234 billion RUB, and the sake in the American company exceeds 59%.

Citilink is ranked the third in term of net asset value (5,5 billion RUB). The main sector of the company is electronic equipment trade. Citilink has been actively developing due to the new trading format and one of the first to introduce the format of an online electronics store. The buyers took the purchased goods in the points of delivery. After 10 years, Citylink began to actively increase its presence in the market. Since 2018, the number of stores has increased to 80 throughout Russia, and the number of points of delivery increased to 600. The company's income for 2018 exceeded 65 billion RUB, and grew by 19,4% over the previous period.

The value of Wildberries amounted to 3,6 billion RUB. The company is the second among TOP-10 in term of the increase in the net asset value. Wildberries is the largest online store of clothes, shoes, baby products, household and other goods. In addition to the Russian Federation, it is presented in the CIS countries, and since January 2020 in the European market - in Poland. In early 2020, the founder of online retailer Tatyana Bakalchuk topped the Forbes ranking of Russia's richest women according. The company's income for 2018 doubled and amounted to 70 billion RUB.

The fifth in the ranking is Rambler Group (2,9 billion RUB), one of the largest holdings in the field of media, e-commerce and technology. The company manages about 40 projects, such as postal service, online newspaper Lenta.ru, Afisha, Gazeta.ru, Chempionat.com sort portal, Okko online cinema, etc. It is noteworthy that the Rambler Group is the sole owner of the English Premier League broadcasting rights in Russia. The contract was valued at over 490 million RUB and signed for three years. The Premier League is Europe’s most viewed football league.

Then follows ivi (2,5billion RUB). ivi is a Russian media company operating in the professional online video market. Among the projects is an online movie theater of the same name. The company has contracts with the leading Russian and foreign copyright holders, such as Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Lenfilm, Mosfilm and others.

The seventh is online recruitment platform HeadHunter (2,4billion RUB). It is the leading online recruitment platform in Russia and the CIS with over 1 million customers. The company’s income for 2018 exceeded 6 billion RUB.

The ranking also includes QIWI payment service. The value of the company’s assets exceeds 2,3 billion RUB. Today, using this payment service, you can make mobile communications, Internet and television payments, transfer money, etc. QIWI is the forerunner of online banks (Sberbank Online, VTB Online). Income of the company for 2018 is 6 billion RUB.

Avito is the largest Internet portal of free ads in Russia. According to the financial statements, the value of the company's assets is estimated at 2,3 billion RUB. More than 47 million people visit Avito's website monthly, and in November 2019, more than 59 million buy-and-sell ads were posted. The company's income for 2018 exceeded 20 billion RUB.

Online shop of clothes and footwear Lamoda (2,2 billion RUB) closes the ranking. The company has more than 17 thousand points of delivery in Russia and the CIS. Website of the shop contains over 6 million goods. Today, Lamoda collaborates with 20 major brands - Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Adidas, Armani, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Gucci. Income for 2018 exceeded 31,5 billion RUB.

The results of the ranking showed that Internet access, desire and interesting idea are enough to create a successful and large company today.