As one of the strongest performing retail sectors during the pandemic, the grocery sector showed exceptional offline strength by quickly adapting to a new pandemic-influenced reality. Yet, nearly halfway through 2021, it is increasingly clear the return to normalcy is in full swing, and with that, the need to adapt to a changing environment once again. To leverage last year’s surge and position themselves up for longer-term growth, grocers must understand which trends are here to stay and which are not.
Gas prices and futures (contracts to buy gasoline at some point in the future) have been up massively over the last few months, to the extent that some traders are betting on the return of $100 oil/barrel before the end of the year (Options Traders Bet on Return of $100 Oil ). It was reasonable to expect that with US reopening after the pandemic we would see an increased demand in travel, and gasoline demand as a result.
The U.S. employment recovery accelerated in May, but recent gains were still below economists’ expectations. Employers added almost 560,000 jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). April’s disappointing gains were revised up to 278,000 jobs from the initially reported 266,000 jobs and March’s data was revised up by 15,000 jobs to 785,000 jobs gained as the factors hindering a stronger jobs recovery continue to be debated.
Lumber prices have tripled since June 2020, adding an average of $24,000 to the price of a new US home; and reports from Canada show that timber poaching is increasing as a result. Sawmills were idle during the pandemic lockdown, so the usual inventory build over winter did not happen. These technical constraints on supply are colliding head on with a spike in demand as housebuilding restarts, with the added pressure of the post-COVID desire for larger houses.
Winter Storm Uri in February of this year ravaged much of the country, with the strongest impact in states with little snow experience such as Texas. But not all businesses were plowed under by the storm. Grocers actually saw a lift in sales in the days prior as snow-shy shoppers stocked up on essentials in anticipation of rough road conditions and grocery closures. In today’s Insight Flash we take advantage of our partnership with WeatherOptics and our newly launched WeatherOptics Signal dashboards to dig into which grocers were the most impacted
In a year when employees gained more freedom to work remotely, population shifts gravitated away from the expensive gateway areas, toward more affordable parts of the country. As a result, some of the nation’s big gateway markets saw dramatic population declines in 2020, while many Sun Belt markets were magnets for in-migration. Weakening performance among the nation’s gateway apartment markets has been a common theme in the past year
The pandemic raised new questions, new challenges, brought new opportunities, and accelerated the need for data-driven decisions across many industries. We recently teamed up with our partners at PwC to share our approach for enhancing existing demand models using multiple datasets and to show an example of how they’re built in the PwC ecosystem. We discussed from our respective points of view how demand changed, and how it can affect your planning.
Over the last several weeks, inflation concerns have been a hot topic, as the combination of increased demand as the country reopens, supply chain constraints and high commodity prices has pushed up prices across categories. Although categories like used cars and gas saw the most dramatic increases last month, CPG companies have felt the impact as well.
The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in April 2021 was up compared to April 2020. Carloads originated increased 18.9 percent, from 305,350 in April 2020 to 363,021 in April 2021. Virtually all carload groups were up. Motor Vehicles and Equipment led gains with a 212.0 percent increase. Nonmetallic Minerals was up 82.9 percent and Waste and Scrap Materials and Petroleum Products increased 54.9 and 50.8 percent respectively.
In the last year, the dollar store sector has clearly been among the better positioned segments within all of retail. And there is real reason to believe that this is just the beginning. Brands like Dollar General and Big Lots are poised for big things in the next year, and new concepts like Dollar General’s Popshelf could make the coming years even more exciting for an increasingly sophisticated sector.
When Colonial Pipeline was hit with a ransomware attack that forced it to shut down operations, millions of consumers on the East Coast were faced with long lines at gas stations and skyrocketing fuel prices. Although the press was awash in pictures of people hoarding gas in plastic shopping bags, how much impact did the shutdown really have?
Crypto has been dominating headlines lately, from Dogecoin to Bitcoin the digital asset has become THE hot topic for news and media outlets. It’s not just media outlets that have latched on to the crypto craze, large institutions are also starting to explore the possibilities of this technology. Naturally we were curious as well, so in this post we use Linkup’s Raw dataset to take a look at who has job listings in this area.
Three important factors in mortgage underwriting are debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, loan-to-value (LTV) ratios and credit scores. Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen a decrease in the average DTI and LTV as well as an increase in the average credit score of loan applicants. There are two possible reasons for this change: either the risk attributes of applicants have changed, or lenders’ credit underwriting standards have changed due to an uncertain economic outlook.
U.S. consumer spending has been altered by the coronavirus pandemic. Our data reveals that consumers are changing the way they pay for goods and services, with some industries seeing spending shift toward online purchases. Additionally, the pandemic has changed the types of purchases consumers are making, with stimulus recipients increasing their spending on big-ticket items.
Publicans hoping for packed beer gardens after reopening last month have found punters being held back by an uninvited guest – the rain – with geo-data revealing how one of the wettest late springs on record might have subdued the sector’s recovery. The number of people visiting pubs in England more than doubled from Friday 16 April to Thursday 22 April, from around 16% of the levels we saw in January 2020 to almost 35%.
After Colonial Pipeline - the largest pipeline for refined oil in the U.S. - halted operations after being hacked on May 7, eastern U.S. states have faced the possibility of acute gasoline shortages. Although the pipeline was restarted last Wednesday May 12, many states are seeing lingering shortages. As of the morning of May 17, North Carolina, the state hit hardest, had almost 60 percent of its stations out of gas.
While every sector has its doubters, off-price leaders were the focus of a high level of concern during COVID because of their reliance on physical locations. And while the ultimate success of the sector, especially relative to the wider apparel space, was hardly impossible to predict, the performances of top brands in the space were truly impressive. So where do things stand and how might these leaders progress deeper into 2021?
Total construction starts fell 2% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $853.5 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Single family construction posted a sizeable decline following months of strong activity, while nonresidential building and nonbuilding starts both gained. “The pullback in single family construction starts was inevitable after showing exceptional strength over the past year,” said Richard Branch, Chief Economist for Dodge Data & Analytics.
The multifamily industry has been off to a hot start to 2021 after a challenging 2020. New deliveries through April were up considerably, but so was apartment demand. Robust demand has been a continuation from the recovery that began in Q3 2020, but the difference so far this year is the reappearance of rent growth.