Consumer Edge credit card data has been very effective in predicting Macro-level economic growth trends. For the unadjusted Retail sales number that the Census Bureau reports every month, government data accelerated +730 bps and CE data caught this acceleration with data delivered well in advance of the report. Pent-up demand may be a key driver of this acceleration, as the September growth rate was higher than even any 2019 monthly growth rates.
One of the trademarks of some hip new brands, including Away Travel and Everlane, has been an avoidance of the entrenched practice of marking items up just to mark them down, with many older brands known for having “sales” almost every other week. Yet, in the face of depressed shopping activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both brands launched uncharacteristic fixed price sales this past summer.
In addition to increased purchases of flour and furniture, the early spring lockdown in many states led to more consumption of video streaming services as consumers looked for alternative sources of entertainment under stay-at-home orders.
This year’s back-to-school season is unlike any in recent memory. Along with the usual school supply lists of pencils, new clothes, and lunch snacks, this year’s class also has to purchase webcams, masks, and hand sanitizer. Many schools are starting remotely, others have had in-person class dates pushed back, and several have had a later start as administrators scramble to update policies and technology.
Movie theaters and other entertainment venues have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. As restaurants and retail have been allowed to open in limited capacity, entertainment venues have been among the last on the list to get back to business for many states. Even as reopenings have begun in many states, most studios have chosen to hold back blockbusters until they can be shown at full capacity.