The pandemic began as a terrifying and unpredictable global health and economic threat that sent most ASX shares into a downward spiral in February 2020.
But as we now know, a bunch of companies emerged as COVID winners due to catapulting demand for their products and services as we all settled in for a completely new way of life over three years.
With the pandemic now over, many of those ASX shares have now crashed, or at least returned to the price levels they were trading at before the pandemic hit us.
Let's review the performance of these eight ASX shares.
As the charts below show, all of the companies experienced strong share price gains over 2020 and 2021 before commencing a long and slow drift back down.
Marley Spoon SE (ASX: MMM)
High demand for home grocery delivery services sent the Marley Spoon share price skyrocketing. Marley Spoon delivers recipe-based meal kits to households around the world.
Consumers under lockdown looked for new ways to get their groceries, and Marley Spoon provided an answer. These ASX shares went from less than 30 cents in February 2020 to $3.55 in August 2020.
As at yesterday's market close, the Marley Spoon share price finished at 11.5 cents, down 4.17% for the day.
Domino's Pizza Enterprises Ltd (ASX: DMP)
While couped up at home, Australians ordered a lot of takeaway food. Stimulus payments gave many more households the budget to order in, and initiatives such as Zero Contact Delivery made Domino's additionally appealing to germ-wary consumers.
The Dominos share price went from about $63 in February 2020 to a peak of about $162 in September 2021.
At yesterday's close, Dominos shares finished at $43.55 apiece, down 5.86% on Tuesday.
Yesterday, the company announced a raft of store closures, including its entire network in Denmark.
Zip Co Ltd (ASX: ZIP)
During the pandemic, the whole world went shopping online, which provided a boon for ASX BNPL shares like Zip.
The Zip share price went from about $3.65 in February 2020 to a peak of about $12.35 in February 2021.
Yesterday, the Zip share price closed at 50 cents, down 1% for the day.
Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN)
Harvey Norman was one of many ASX retail shares to benefit from the online shopping craze during the pandemic.
As people spent more time in their homes, they began renovating and redecorating to improve their new 24/7 work and living environments.
The Harvey Norman share price went from about $4.75 in February 2020 to a peak of about $6 in March 2021.
Ansell Limited (ASX: ANN)
It was a great time in history to be a manufacturer of medical-grade gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
Ansell was among a number of ASX healthcare shares to experience strong gains during the COVID era.
Ansell shares went from about $31.50 apiece in February 2020 to a peak of about $42.30 in April 2021.
Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd (ASX: NEC)
Long periods of lockdown meant Australians needed to be entertained for many more hours during the day than usual.
This provided an opportunity for entertainment services companies such as Nine, and their ASX shares went up as a result.
The Nine share price went from about $1.75 in February 2020 to a peak of $3.10 in November 2021.
Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL)
Another way Australians kept themselves entertained during the pandemic was through online gaming.
COVID prompted Aristocrat to turbocharge its online gaming business.
As we reported at the time, Aristocrat's FY21 half-year results revealed a 28% surge in revenue in its digital gaming business and an 18% increase in net profit after tax (NPAT) despite ongoing pubs and clubs closures.
Aristocrat shares went from about $37.30 in February 2020 to a peak of about $48.30 in November 2021.
REA Group Ltd (ASX: REA)
One of the biggest surprises of the pandemic was an all-out real estate boom.
COVID led to one of the most significant structural population shifts seen in Australian history, with tens of thousands of people selling their homes and relocating to suit their new circumstances.
Many city dwellers, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, sold up and moved away from expensive inner-city areas to the urban fringe, where they could afford to buy large family houses on big blocks.
Working from home meant they no longer needed to be close to their CBD offices.
Many people upped stumps altogether and headed to regional areas or interstate, with the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast two of the biggest beneficiaries of this internal migration.
The REA share price went from about $114 in February 2020 to a peak of $176.80 in November 2021.
The ASX All Ords crash and recovery
The S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) fell by 33% between late February and late March 2020.
It went from about 7,230 points to 4,855 points over this short time frame.
The ASX All Ords is currently trading higher than its pre-pandemic level, finishing at 7,329 points at yesterday's market close.
The All Ords closed up 0.23% for the day on Tuesday and is 2.78% higher in the year to date.
The COVID-19 market crash also provided an opportunity to pick up some ASX shares on the cheap for long-term growth.
We recently featured 9 ASX shares that investors should have bought and held in 2020.