If you think about all the winners and losers right now, it makes your head spin.
Did you know eye makeup sales are booming? Yep. And lipstick sales are getting crushed.
Why? Think about it.
For fun, I’ll bet on the future of resorts and cruise ships. You bet on stand-alone vacation homes and RVs. I’ll go broke. You’ll get rich.
A friend of mine in sporting goods told me youth baseball equipment is flying off the shelves. Because kids can’t share bats or gloves anymore. Everyone has to buy their own. Unless they can’t afford it.
The rich are definitely getting richer. And I don’t just mean the ultra-wealthy. I’m talking about many of you reading this. You probably kept your job, working remotely. You have a nice house, manageable childcare, and all the creature comforts to not go stir-crazy. You squirreled away thousands from cancelled spring breaks, summer camps, European vacations, and concert tickets. You bought a Peloton or a swimming pool.
You’re fine. Better, maybe, than you were before.
Meanwhile, millions are out of work – or working in jobs that expose them to COVID everyday – living in urban apartments without decks or fire pits or home gyms. They bought big-screen TVs to make quarantine a little more tolerable but the risk of going out to a crowded bar for a drink might still seem worth it.
Google and the other walled gardens will get richer too. When ad spending dwindles, the long tail of media feels it first. Don’t forget, Google doomed the third-party cookie weeks before COVID. A culling of unwalled media was going to happen eventually. “Eventually” started in March.
A lot of companies are learning hard lessons about how smart – or not – they are. Brand trackers and Net Promoter Scores are proving to be little more than eye candy and lazy metrics to dole out bonuses. They don’t answer “Why?” or “What’s next?” Too many companies use disparate tools to conduct disparate studies across siloed departments. They can’t move fast enough.
The smart companies – the prepared companies, the agile companies – are killing it. Or at least weathering it enough to see another day.
We need to help the companies and, more importantly, the people who are being left behind. Otherwise, the effects of this virus are going to be lingering long after a vaccine or magical cure or herd immunity comes along.
Here’s what we’re seeing this week:
Consumer confidence is starting to reflect reality again, at least for now. Our Economic Sentiment Index had its first downturn in a month, as Americans began to feel the weight of increased COVID cases and another 7-figure unemployment claim. Don’t be surprised to see another bad reading two weeks from now as people stare down the barrel of waning unemployment benefits (at least until the next stimulus). Crazy times.
Wear a mask if you want to help the economy. This is one of the more ominous charts I’ve seen lately. After steady improvement, consumer willingness to shop in physical stores hasn’t just plateaued. The percentage of people who say it will be 4+ months before they feel comfortable shopping in the real world has climbed 7 points in the last three weeks. People don’t feel safe right now, that’s all there is to it. Do your part.
If you want to piss a bunch of money away, open a movie in theaters this summer. I had a rare opportunity to write up my own study this week about the prospects of now-open movie theaters across the country. Rotten Tomatoes rates the article 100% based on reviews calling it “tour de force writing” and “a masterpiece of insightful prose.” See for yourself. Let’s just say I wouldn’t put cinemas in the “winner” category this summer.
Political advertising on Facebook is about to get far less effective. Facebook launched a new feature that allows users to block political ads and only 17% of users say they aren’t likely to use it. Political moderates are the most likely to use it – which is problematic for campaigns because they’re the people who are up for grabs. It’s a bold move by FB. Maybe they know what we know – which is that a growing percentage of Facebook users are thinking about ditching the service.
It’s a great time to be in the home improvement business. Whether it’s the prospect of working from home until next year, or the fact that sitting around the house for three months magnifies every freaking flaw in your house that never bothered you before this MFing quarantine and now you want to raze the whole thing and start over so you and your wife stop coming up with new projects to undertake…Wait. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the percentage of Americans who are planning a home improvement project in the coming months has grown healthily since April. The largest group plans to do it themselves. And they prefer Home Depot over Lowe’s.
Cereal consumption is up during the pandemic, especially among people who live alone. I may have found this way more interesting than you do but this is my email and I’m writing about it so whatever. People are eating more cereal for breakfast since COVID started, because of course. It’s the profile of these Cheerio-munchers that’s particularly interesting. In June, 41% of single, live-alone types are eating cereal for breakfast at least weekly, up from just 28% in February. Maybe they were grabbing breakfast on the way to work before. Or maybe they just don’t want to get bacon grease on the sweatpants they wear all day.
We wrote about a bunch of other stuff too:
- Online news subscriptions are up since the pandemic started but not as much as I hoped;
- Fans are completely split over Major League Baseball’s partial season strategy;
- We did a super-deep dive into the profile of grocery delivery users and intenders;
- Telemedicine usage climbed again this month, but a large group remain stubborn about it;
- And I’m not qualified to expound on all the fascinating insights we found in the beauty and skincare industry, so read about it from an expert;
- That upward trend we saw in people being scared to return to stores is happening in the restaurant category too.
Our Most Popular Questions This Week:
- Do you like to cuddle?
- Do you count stairs in your head when walking up or down?
- When eating do you eat all of one thing before moving to the next?
- Do you think that mosquitoes bite you more than they bite the average person?
- Do you say “righty tighty, lefty loosey” to yourself when using a screwdriver / opening or closing something, etc.?
- Do you enable Touch ID / Face ID recognition technology on your personal cell phone?
Oh. And I’ll be taking off next weekend to celebrate our great nation and the shining example it sets for the rest of the world.
Not really. I’ll just be too hungover.
Have a Happy Fourth.