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Earnest Research

Earnest works with world-class data partners to transform raw data into actionable insights for business and investment professionals. With a 100+ person team headquartered in New York City and a growing team in Dublin, we help our clients ask better questions and make better decisions.

October 22, 2021 / Business

StockX Up 16x

From Earnest Research
When StockX announced a $255 million funding raise in April, valuing the company at $3.8 billion, much was said of StockX’s uniqueness as a company: a “stock market of hype,” many of the goods bought and sold through its marketplace represent Gen-Z consumers’ interest in alternatives to traditional investments. Best known for apparel and accessory resale—primarily sneakers, streetwear, handbags, and watches—products on StockX have broadened to include collectibles and electronics.
October 18, 2021 / Business

Dollar General Moves Upmarket with Popshelf

From Earnest Research
While many retailers took a cautious approach to expansion following the COVID outbreak, Dollar General bucked the trend, deciding instead to launch a new concept, Popshelf, mid-pandemic. Courting a new type of customer, it plans to open up to 50 of these locations by the end of the year. Popshelf is attracting higher-income shoppers: 29% of its customer spend in 2021 came from households with annual earnings of more than $150K, while this figure was 22% at its parent, Dollar General.
October 15, 2021 / Business

September 2021 Earnest Research Spend Index

From Earnest Research
The Earnest Research Spend Index* was flat compared to the prior month with in-store growth continuing to decelerate and online accelerating slightly. Yo2Y spend accelerated 2pp both in-store and online. Foot traffic to consumer businesses was up slightly versus 2019 levels for the first month since February 2020, a sharp reversal from August suggesting a recovery in consumer activity.
October 7, 2021 / Business

Government Dollars for Claire’s

From Earnest Research
Teen/tween retailer Claire’s, known primarily for its fashion jewelry and ear piercing services, has filed for an IPO—several years after a private equity takeover and emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In its recent prospectus, Claire’s noted that for the first half of fiscal year 2021, North American sales grew 124.3% compared to 2020 and 23.2% compared to 2019; much of this was driven by ear piercing-related transactions.
September 27, 2021 / Culture

Back-to-School, But Not Back-to-Normal Just Yet

From Earnest Research
The full back-to-school (B2S) season saw no growth relative to 2019 (Yo2Y), an improvement from last year’s stunted season, but still shy of the 4% Yo2Y growth levels pre-pandemic. In-store spending declined 10% Yo2Y while online spending grew 27%. Foot traffic data to malls reflected a 16% decline this season compared to 2019; still a ways towards full recovery. Majority of states saw lower levels of spending relative to pre-pandemic, like D.C. and Louisiana (20+ points lower), California and Texas (10+ points) and New York (6+ points).
September 17, 2021 / Business

Allbirds IPO

From Earnest Research
Sustainable footwear brand Allbirds has filed for an IPO to trade as $BIRD on the Nasdaq, joining a slew of other DTC brands going public. While Allbirds built its brand on direct e-commerce sales (almost 90% of Allbirds sales happen online), opening physical stores is increasingly important to the brand in attracting new customers, as cited in Allbirds’ S-1. Using Earnest consumer spend data, we analyzed the degree to which Allbirds sales were impacted by new store openings in cities across the U.S.
August 31, 2021 / Business

Eyeing Warby Parker’s S-1

From Earnest Research
Warby Parker is the latest direct-to-consumer company planning to go public. We reviewed statements made in the company’s S-1 and compared them with Earnest spend data, analyzing how Warby Parker has performed in the eyewear market among competitors like Lenscrafters, Sunglass Hut, and Zenni. We also looked at which eyewear companies have been most successful in retaining existing customers while attracting new buyers.
August 17, 2021 / Economy

Child Tax Credit Spurs Early Back-to-School Spending

From Earnest Research
For some school districts*, the back-to-school shopping season has arrived. Following a year of mostly remote learning and a resulting stunted 2020 school shopping period, we looked at our data to see if 2021 would be any different. Good news for retailers: a return to in-person classes and some extra cash from the first Child Tax Credit payment shows the retail tide may be turning.
August 12, 2021 / Business

Jibbitz: A Lucky Charm for Crocs?

From Earnest Research
Few footwear choices have garnered such polarized opinions as Crocs ($CROX), whose signature foam clogs have developed loyal fans among medical professionals and home gardeners alike. In recent months, the shoe company has skyrocketed in popularity with Gen Z shoppers in particular, perhaps in part due to celebrity endorsements and even fast food partnerships. In any case, Crocs reported a >60% increase in sales last quarter, and the company expects yet another uptick this year.
August 2, 2021 / Economy

Will COVID’s Home Spending Boom Last?

From Earnest Research
The phrase “no place like home” took on new meaning for many at the height of the pandemic, with much of the country pivoting to a new normal of quarantine and remote work. Some of the biggest beneficiaries of this development were the Home Improvement and Home Furnishing sectors as consumers increasingly took on DIY home projects and invested in home offices—to the tune of $420 billion last year.
July 30, 2021 / Investing

Newer Robinhood Customers Deposit More onto the Platform

From Earnest Research
Ahead of its forthcoming $35B IPO, we looked into Robinhood’s stated growth strategy to “continue adding new customers to \[their\] platform” as well as which customer cohorts are most valuable for the trading app. Customers who joined the Robinhood platform in 1Q20 or later have a far greater Cumulative Deposit Value than prior cohorts, starting with a higher initial deposit, in the range of $240-$340, vs. an appx. $200 in previous periods.
July 26, 2021 / Travel

Airbnb, #1 Among OTAs & Hotels

From Earnest Research
As summer gets underway, which travel platforms are luring eager travelers? Using Earnest spend data we reviewed how Airbnb is performing after COVID disrupted travel, and shone a light on the platform’s extended-stay and quarantine-friendly business model. With continued restrictions on international travel, it’s not surprising Airbnb has maintained its stronghold in the Online Travel Agency (OTA) market, continuing to capture 50% of the sector. By comparison, Vrbo including HomeAway, a clear beneficiary during the pandemic peaking at 32% market share in 2Q20
July 21, 2021 / Business

Glossier’s Series E

From Earnest Research
With news that Glossier recently closed a Series E round of $80M (led by Lone Pine Capital) now bringing the DTC company’s valuation to $1.2 billion, we looked at our spend data to see how the beauty brand has fared throughout the pandemic and beyond. Glossier YoY sales peaked in mid-May growing 143%, coinciding with stay-at-home orders that left many shoppers with online marketplaces as the only place to checkout. As COVID cases continued to grow, Glossier’s sales declined, hitting negative growth by late summer 2020
July 13, 2021 / Business

Torrid IPO: Plus-Size Market Performance & Customer Metrics

From Earnest Research
Torrid ($CURV)- the popular plus-size women’s clothing brand joined the New York Stock Exchange on July 1st, with an opening market valuation of $2.3B dollars. Earnest compared Torrid shoppers with those of major competitors like Lane Bryant and ELOQUII for a comprehensive view of the brand. According to Torrid CEO, Liz Munoz, part of Torrid’s success (and its secret sauce), lies in its omnichannel approach. Torrid currently has around 600 physical stores, but attributes 70% of its sales to online purchases.
July 9, 2021 / Business

Retail Battle Royale: Amazon Prime Day 2021

From Earnest Research
Prime Day is touted by Amazon as one of the largest online shopping events of the year. This year, Walmart and Target expanded their concurrent online shopping events to compete with Amazon’s Prime Day. Earnest analyzed the impact of the retail battle royale in late June on the performance of Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Prime Day gains in 2021 were more muted than past years with Amazon online sales increasing by 20% WoW. The lift was less than half of what the retailer experienced in both 2018 and 2019 and slightly lower than in 2020.
June 28, 2021 / Business

Shein Now Leads Fast Fashion

From Earnest Research
The Chinese brand loved by Gen Z and rumored to be exploring an IPO — Shein– is now the largest Fast Fashion retailer in the US by sales, only two months after displacing Amazon as the top e-commerce app downloaded in the US. Market share data from Earnest shows that Shein began 2021 with 13% of total Fast Fashion sales, trailing traditional leader H&M. Since January, Shein continued to gain share and now leads with 28% of the Fast Fashion market, with Zara the only other brand growing share during that period.
June 25, 2021 / Business

Back-to-Office, Back-to-Starbucks

From Earnest Research
The pandemic-driven transformation to working remotely was one of the biggest shakeups of the past year, the effects of which we are still witnessing today. With just over half the US population now vaccinated and many local economies reopened, the nature of remote work is top-of-mind: are employees returning back to the office, or will remote work be a sustained new reality in the post-pandemic workforce?
June 18, 2021 / Business

Seats Left at the Box Office

From Earnest Research
While much has been said about the latest meme-driven rally in AMC’s share price, we used Earnest Foot Traffic data to look at actual customer behavior and understand what’s really happening with movie theater attendance. AMC, with the largest footprint, recently saw traffic -62% of May 2019 levels—likely benefiting from the outperformance we’ve seen across several sectors in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, despite their lower vaccination rates.
June 14, 2021 / Travel

Travel’s Roadmap to Recovery

From Earnest Research
The 2021 summer travel season has officially begun, and roughly half the US adult population is inoculated against the coronavirus. Is travel poised to recover from its near-death experience last year? We take a look at travel performance to date below. (See our prior analyses in this vaccinated-recovery series, including our general overview, our focus on dining, and on gyms).
June 4, 2021 / Investing

A (Bitter) Sweetgreen IPO?

From Earnest Research
With reports that Sweetgreen is preparing to go public we looked at how the upscale salad chain has performed in its core urban markets. Regardless of pre-pandemic growth, all regions saw drops of 50% or more as offices closed and office lunches plummeted at the outbreak of COVID. Since then, Sweetgreen’s HQ market of Los Angeles rebounded the fastest, reaching >50% Yo2Y trailing 4 weeks in September last year, before tailing off to around 30% in recent weeks.