The market continued to surge higher amidst concerns of COVID lockdowns and growing political tensions. Economic data weakened as the impact of shutdowns worried consumers and is beginning to have an impact on the employment situation. Find all of this plus more on the painful plunge in Black Friday sales for brick and mortar retailers in this weeks @KonvergentWP Market Update Blog.
Here are the top three things we’re covering this week’s blog:
The S&P was up 2.27% on the week as the strong bullish trend remained present throughout the shortened trading week. Even with COVID cases expanding and economic data worsening, the optimism for recovery in 2021 continued to drive the market higher.
New claims increased last week and came in at 778,000. This increase of 30,000 claims, coupled with rising COVID cases, furthered the concerns of a painful winter for the employment market. Pandemic emergency claims came down slightly, bringing the total new claims to 1.09 million.
Continuing claims decreased to 6.07 million. This was the lone bright spot in an otherwise worrying employment report.
Total Claims for Unemployment from all programs increased to 20.45 million. This came as an unfortunate surprise to the employment recovery. With the holiday season fast approaching, all eyes will be on this reading to see if seasonal hiring helps to brighten the employment picture. Unfortunately, with COVID cases trending in a negative direction, most retail stores will likely be forced to lay off workers instead of additional hiring.
Consumer Sentiment fell sharply in the month of November to 76.9. This was below the preliminary estimate of 77 and shows the consumer impact of rising COVID cases.
With the pandemic forcing many shoppers to stay at home over the holidays, black Friday sales were virtually non-existent. Brick and mortar stores continue to be eaten alive by the versatility of an online shopping experience. On Thanksgiving Day alone, consumers spent $5.1 billion on online purchases.
This was yet another example of the massive revolution seen in technology companies over the past nine months. In a clear case of survival of the fittest, technology driven products continue to outperform. Brick and mortar stores saw a 52% drop in sales, while their online competitors grew by 22%. Even more substantial, Thanksgiving Day traffic fell by 94.9% over the previous year.
Not only are shoppers beginning to turn away from long lines and big in store discounts, but they are also rotating away from Black Friday all together. While total online sales on the famous shopping day reached a near record $9 billion, experts are expecting that number to be shattered just three days later on Cyber Monday.
It is becoming increasingly evident that if brick and mortar locations want to survive, they will be forced to adapt. Consumers have already begun to witness this through curbside pickup and buy online pickup in store availability. Even more concerning for retail stores is that consumers appear to be more interested in convenience, than in waiting in line for a spectacular deal.
Articles of Interest
Vaccine Update – With the heart of winter fast approaching, the race is on to mass produce a successful COVID-19 vaccine. Currently there are a number of promising candidates, but the ability to distribute each dose to a large portion of those in need could be troubling. Check out this article for an update on the progress of these vaccines and when a dose would likely be available for you.
Salesforce Acquisition – This past week brought the long-foreseen news that Salesforce is acquiring the business messaging company Slack. With the amount of people working from home on the rise, this deal further cements Salesforce as a worthy competitor to Microsoft and other major tech companies. Check out this article for more information on the developments being made during this new work from home era.
Stimulus – The push for large scale stimulus made some progress early Monday as members of a bipartisan Senate group urged party leaders to return to the drawing board. Check out this article for the latest on where a renewed stimulus bill stands with many in desperate need of additional help.
Social Media Post of the Week
All of us here at Konvergent hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and extend our sincerest gratitude to you and your families!
Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite Social Media Feeds!!
Non-Financial Story of the Week
I hope you all had a great weekend and a great Thanksgiving! We had a nice small Thanksgiving celebration and had a chance to do a great hike this weekend. It was really nice to get out in nature, however, we unfortunately picked the worst weather day of the weekend for the hike but it turned it into a fun adventure as we got our first taste of snow this year at the top of Mt Zion in the Olympic Mountains!
The market continues to ignore the current economic struggles facing millions of Americans. While the positive vaccine news is certainly a good sign for the economic recovery, the reality is that it may be a long time before we return to the old normal. With that said, struggle often leads to positive change. If companies can learn to adapt and overcome the difficult pandemic obstacles, they will thrive in the next era.
If you have any questions about any of the information in this week’s blog or what you should be doing right now with your personal and business planning, do not hesitate to reach out to us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us at 253-236-7000.