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Tech is taking a beating, but it's risen like a Phoenix before

The trend: Despite an overall robust US jobs market, the tech industry is contracting, bringing the stock market down with it.

  • Big Tech is taking a big hit. Apple’s valuation dropped to $2.5 trillion on Monday, down from $3 trillion in January, per The Washington Post.
  • Facebook’s worth fell by 40% this year. Microsoft, Amazon, Tesla, and Alphabet dropped over 20% of their values, and Netflix incurred a hefty 70% loss.
  • Over the course of three days ending Monday, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, Amazon, Alphabet, Nvidia, and Meta lost over $1 trillion in value combined, per CNBC.
  • Meanwhile, throwback companies like Campbell Soup, General Mills, and J.M. Smucker outperformed Big Tech.
  • It’s not just tech behemoths that are suffering. On Monday, Bitcoin dipped to its lowest level since July 2021 and Peloton, which grew substantially during coronavirus lockdowns, lost $757 million last quarter.
  • Recent market volatility coincides with Federal Reserve policy changes that are seeking to rapidly curb skyrocketing inflation through interest rate hikes.

What it means: Inflation and rising interest rates aren’t the only culprits in tech’s decline. The war in Ukraine and intractable supply chain obstacles have burdened the industry.

  • Yet the course of events isn’t altogether surprising. Tech experienced overheated growth during the height of the pandemic while other parts of the economy languished.
  • As a post-pandemic era materializes, tech is still facing supply chain challenges just as other sectors like travel and hospitality are rebounding.
  • At the same time, inflation is still steering people away from buying expensive tech products and toward cheaper grocery goods.
  • For Big Tech, this translates into layoffs and hiring freezes as it’s forced to rein in excess growth.
  • Startups aren’t immune. After historic levels of venture capital investing during the pandemic, VC investing shrank 35% in Q1 2022 from the prior quarter.
  • However, Beezer Clarkson, a partner at Sapphire Partners, told the Post that there’s no indication that startup creation is slowing due to the tech fallout. Rather than pull back on investing in startups, investors say they’re looking at companies more critically, asking them to use funding more efficiently, Clarkson said.

The opportunities: As the pandemic wanes, people are seeing more options beyond being sequestered to the couch streaming videos. This gives the tech industry more opportunities to evolve to meet changing demand.

  • Despite being forced to curb extravagant growth, Big Tech companies have ample cash reserves that they could use to focus on R&D for next-generation technologies.
  • Although employees at companies like Apple might now have less leverage, a more mobile tech workforce could continue to fuel startup growth.