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Coronavirus has secured Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person

Jeff Bezos looking particularly happy at a conference
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos didn’t need loads more money, but Covid-19 ensured he got it anyway.
By Daniel Wolfe
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The rich get richer. Amid the global pandemic, Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, saw his wealth grow by $24 billion since the world’s been largely in shutdown. This brings his net worth to $143.1 billion, nearly $40 billion higher than the second-place Bill Gates, and almost twice that of Warren Buffett.

As hundreds of millions of people around the world shelter-in-place, the coronavirus pandemic brings Amazon’s core business to more doorsteps than ever before. From April 13 to 17, Amazon’s shares rose 16.4%, with their largest closing price ever on the 16th. Analysts forecast a dramatic 22% increase in revenue for the first quarter, ahead of results being released April 30. Bank of America analysts estimate revenue at $73 billion, translating to $10,000 a second, reports the Guardian.

Anticipated revenue notwithstanding, Amazon is currently worth $1.18 trillion, the third-largest company after Microsoft and Apple. The coronavirus pandemic makes Amazon indispensable for home deliveries. The company plans on growing its US workforce by 40% to meet current demands. As it expands non-essential orders through its website—it’s been prioritizing essential orders—those 175,000 workers will transport countless goods across the nation.

Supply-chain woes have complicated the short-term growth of AppleMicrosoft, and many other companies. Amazon is built upon delivering groceries and household goods, with additional value from its digital streaming services Prime Video and Twitch. Bezos’ business is meant for customers living out of their living rooms.

It’s hard to know how long the coronavirus will keep people sheltered-in-place. Some places will experiment with reopening businesses sooner than others, but online retail will likely remain strong as consumers continue to prioritize their safety over venturing out.

That is more good news for Bezos.