Gartner Survey Finds Most Business Leaders Expect to Increase Sustainability Investment Over Next Two Years

By Staff
Wednesday, November 23, 2022 9:00 AM A new Gartner, Inc. survey revealed that 87 percent of business leaders expect to increase their organization’s investment in sustainability over the next two years. Customers are the primary stakeholder group creating pressure for organizations to invest or act on sustainability issues, selected by 80 percent of executives, followed by investors (60 percent) and regulators (55 percent). “Sustainability enables businesses to cope with disruption,” said Kristin Moyer, distinguished VP analyst, Gartner.

Holiday Shoppers are Expected to Hit the Stores Thanksgiving Weekend

By Staff
Tuesday, November 22, 2022 2:13 PM The number of shoppers who are ready to take on Black Friday sales is expected to grow this Thanksgiving. According to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 166 million people are expected to go shopping between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday this year. 

According to the survey, 69 percent of shoppers will hit the stores during Thanksgiving weekend. Holiday shoppers say there are a variety of factors driving their desire to shop this weekend, with 59 percent saying the deals are too good to pass up. Meanwhile, 27 percent say they are shopping because it is tradition and 22 percent say it is simply something to do over the holiday.

The most popular day to shop remains Black Friday, with 114 million Americans planning to do their shopping on this day. Another 38 percent say they will do their shopping on Cyber Monday. Shoppers continue to do their shopping in person, with 67 percent saying they will be doing their shopping in store, up from 64 percent in 2021.

The World Trade Organization Predicts Global Economy to Slow in 2023

By Staff
Friday, November 18, 2022 10:46 AM The global economy is on the decline, according to the latest numbers from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Recent international trade statistics show that momentum is slowing with an expected increase of just 1.0 percent in 2023, down from the previous forecast of 3.4 percent.

As many countries enter a recession in 2023, demand for imports is also expected to slow down. This, paired with high-energy prices resulting from the Russian-Ukraine war, is expected to drive higher energy prices, driving up the cost of fuel, food and fertilizer. 

As the war continues, energy prices will rise as much as 36 percent. This is on top of the already 250 percent increase year over year. Natural gas has risen 350 percent in Europe year over year, while in the U.S. prices have risen 120 percent. 

This increase is driving concern of food security, particularly among low-income households. Grain prices have risen 15 percent year over year, with wheat alone rising 18 percent. Experts remain concerned about the rising cost of fertilizer which has tripled in price since 2020. This could lead to a reduction in crop yields and drive increased food insecurity.

Consumers Plan to Maintain Spending Levels This Holiday Season Despite Threats of a Recession

By Staff
Thursday, November 17, 2022 1:47 PM New figures from Deloitte are somewhat optimistic even as the U.S. economy continues to head toward a recession this holiday season. The organization recently released its Holiday Retail Survey, which finds that American households are continuing to feel the pressure of inflation and economic pressures but will continue to maintain holiday spending levels. 

The report found that 37 percent of American households say their financial situation is worse than last year. As a result, 73 percent of households are anticipating an increase in the cost of products, impacting how they plan to spend their holiday dollars. 

An increase in spending is not predicted, however, as numbers are expected to match 2021 levels reaching $1,455 per consumer. The report finds that consumers are changing their buying habits, focusing on shopping smarter and purchasing fewer gifts. 

Consumers are also adjusting their shopping habits in a return to pre-COVID travel and gathering. This is motivated by a desire to reconnect with family and friends after nearly three years of social distancing. Over half of consumers are expected to travel this holiday or attend social events.

Retail Crime Is on the Rise

By Staff
Wednesday, November 16, 2022 3:07 PM Retail crime is on the rise and getting worse, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) National Retail Security Survey 2022. The study also found that violence and aggression associated with retail crime is on the rise.

NRF surveyed retail loss prevention and security executives about risks, threats and vulnerabilities to their company and the retail industry as a whole.

This year’s study found that, similar to the last five years, the average shrink rate in 2021 was 1.4 percent. When taken as a percentage of total retail sales in 2021, that shrink represents $94.5 billion in losses, up from $90.8 billion in 2020. Retailers on average saw a 26.5 percent increase in organized retail crime incidents in 2021, while eight in 10 retailers surveyed report that the violence and aggression associated with organized retail crime increased in the past year.

Retailers are devoting resources to prevent the victimization of their employees and guests. According to the survey, they are boosting their budgets for loss prevention and technology, and 52.4 percent are increasing budgets specifically for capital and equipment.

Download the survey here.

Many Parents Don’t Seek Medical Help When Their Child Get Pink Eye, New Study Reveals

By Staff
Tuesday, November 15, 2022 1:55 PM As most eyecare professionals know, pink eye, an inflammation of the transparent membrane in the eye, is one of the most common eye conditions that children can develop. It is most common in children under the age of seven.

30 percent of parents say they don’t go to the doctor or urgent care if they think their child has pink eye, according to a new study by MyVision.org.

Auto Sales Are Up in 2022, Despite Vehicle Shortages Across the U.S.

By Staff
Monday, November 14, 2022 2:28 PM Auto sales are on the rise despite vehicle shortages across the U.S. A new report from TrueCar indicates that sales continue to reach pre-pandemic levels. In October 2022, car sales climbed to 1,165,658 units, up 15 percent from a year ago and on par with September 2022. This is a 13 percent increase over October 2021 with light vehicle sales reaching $14.6 million.

Experts at TrueCar believe sales will continue to rise by 9 percent from 2021, however, numbers are expected to be down 2 percent overall from September 2022. 

Used car sales are on the decline, with sales down 13 percent from last year, totaling nearly 3 million. These figures are even with September 2022 sales.  

Interest rates are on the rise, in response to recession and inflation fears. The interest rate grew to 6.3 percent in October 2022, up from 6 percent in September. The average rate on a used vehicle is approximately 9 percent.

Gas Prices Continue to Soar Across the U.S.

By Staff
Friday, November 11, 2022 4:19 PM A decrease in travel is having little effect on the price at the pumps. According to a recent report from AAA gas prices continue to rise. This past week, prices rose by four cents, hitting $3.80 a gallon. 

A potential production cut in Russian has fueled fears that a global supply shortage may be imminent. This paired with revised COVID restrictions in China, the world’s top oil consuming nation due to a sudden rise in cases, may signal an economic slowdown for the country. 

Recent data from the Energy Information Administration found that gas demand has dropped from 8.93 million barrels per day to 8.66 million barrels per day within the last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks have dropped by 1.3 million barrels of crude oil to 206.6 million barrels of crude oil.

This extra pressure on gas prices has largely been due to tighter supply and fluctuating oil prices.

More Americans Are Joining the ‘Cashless’ Economy

By Staff
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 1:51 PM In less than a decade, the share of Americans who go “cashless” in a typical week has increased by double digits. Today, roughly 4-in-10 Americans (41 percent) say none of their purchases in a typical week are paid for using cash, up from 29 percent in 2018 and 24 percent in 2015, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Conversely, the portion of Americans who say that all or almost all of their purchases are paid for using cash in a typical week has steadily decreased, from 24 percent in 2015 to 18 percent in 2018 to 14 percent today. Still, roughly six-in-ten Americans (59 percent) say that in a typical week, at least some of their purchases are paid for using cash.

Americans with lower incomes continue to be more reliant on cash than those who are more affluent. Three-in-ten Americans whose household income falls below $30,000 a year say they use cash for all or almost all of their purchases in a typical week. That share drops to 20 percent among those in households earning $30,000 to $49,999 and 6 percent among those living in households earning $50,000 or more a year. 

Even so, growing shares of Americans across income groups are relying less on cash than in previous years. This is especially the case among the highest earners: roughly 6-in-10 adults whose annual household income is $100,000 or more (59 percent) say they make none of their typical weekly purchases using cash, up from 43 percent in 2018 and 36 percent in 2015.

World Council of Optometry and CooperVision Survey Explores Optometrists’ Attitudes About Adopting Myopia Management

By Staff
Tuesday, November 8, 2022 11:48 AM The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and industry leading partner, CooperVision, shared the results of a survey on the uptake of myopia management among global eyecare professionals with attendees at the 2022 American Academy of Optometry annual meeting in San Diego. Building on the WCO global resolution which hopes to advance myopia management as the standard of care, WCO and CooperVision presented a poster, Moving the Profession to Embrace Myopia Management (Block, Hendicott, Lumb, Cooper, Bockhahn-Tylecote) today at the conference.

Global Imports Are Expected to Drop to Two-Year Low

By Staff
Monday, November 7, 2022 12:00 AM The National Retail Federation is reporting a drop in imports following the release of the Global Port Tracker report. The study was conducted by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

Imports are at their lowest level in two years, due to supply chain issues and a Zero COVID policy by China. U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 2.26 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU)—one 20-foot container or its equivalent—in August, the latest month for which final numbers are available. These numbers were up by 3.5 percent from July, but down 0.4 percent from August 2021.

The NRF expects the remainder of the year to be down, reaching 12.5 million TEU, down 4 percent year over year. For the full year, 2022 is expected to total 26 million TEU, up 0.7 percent from last year’s annual record of 25.8 million TEU. Imports are predicted to rise slightly in January 2023 at a rate of 2.06 million TEU. However, this number would be down 4.9 percent from January 2022.

It’s predicted that the slowdown will continue into February, reaching 1.8 million TEU, down 15 percent from last year due to the Lunar New Year factory shutdown in Asia.

Think Tank Predicts Swift Economic Downturn by Year’s End

By Staff
Friday, November 4, 2022 11:33 AM A looming recession and rising inflation is signaling economic weakness according to The Conference Board. The think tank released its latest finding this month indicating that the U.S. economy will slide into recession by the end of the year. 

Drawing from numbers released from the Federal Reserve, The Conference board expects the Real GDP numbers for 2022 to reach 1.5 percent year over year, slowing as the 2023 approaches. 

The unemployment rate is also expected to continue to grow, with jobless rates reaching 4.4 percent, still low by historical levels. Much of this is due to labor shortages, with jobseekers still holding the upper hand when it comes to employment perks and salary demands. 

The recession is expected to be short with several factors playing a role in the duration including the risk of a Federal Reserve hike, a major correction in the housing market and persistent inflation.

E-Commerce Sales Reach $1.6 Trillion in 2022

By Staff
Thursday, November 3, 2022 10:58 AM A recent report from Insider Intelligence finds that B2B e-commerce sales are on the rise. According to the October report, e-commerce sales are expected to grow by 11.2 percent in 2022, topping out at $1.6 trillion. The report finds that macroeconomic conditions continue to have an impact on B2B e-commerce sales, and there continues to be exceptional room for growth. 

B2B product sales (the sales of physical products from one business to another) will total more than $16 trillion in the U.S. in 2022. To put that into perspective, the U.S. GDP was nearly $25 trillion in Q2 of this year. 

These numbers echo predictions by CBRE, who reported in a recent study that digital impacted sales were expected to reach $2.4 trillion by 2023. That would make e-commerce sales total more than 58 percent of retail sales. 

The study also found that e-commerce sales are greatly impacted by the location of the purchaser. 

The largest growth in e-commerce sales will be seen by Amazon, according to Retail Dive. The e-commerce giant is expected to be the choice for more than 50 percent of online shoppers by 2023. This is a sharp increase from 2014 numbers, where only 23 percent of shoppers chose Amazon as their source for goods.

Tracking the Frequency of Eye Doctor Visits

By Staff
Tuesday, November 1, 2022 2:11 PM NVision, a leading provider of ophthalmic physician services, surveyed more than 1,000 people across the U.S. to find out how often they visit an eye doctor. Forty-eight percent of respondents go at least once a year, 21 percent every two years, 18 percent visit every three to five years, 10 percent go every six to ten years or longer, and 3 percent have never been to the eye doctor at all.

Social and Health Issues Top the List of Concerns for Voters Over 50

By Staff
Monday, October 31, 2022 12:52 PM A recent study from AARP has found that voters in Pennsylvania are more engaged than ever in social issues. The election survey shows that voters 50 and older are concerned with voting rights at a higher rate and that Black voters in particular will have a significant impact on the outcome of the 2022 midterm election. 

Among the issues topping the list on voters' minds are Social Security at 91 percent, Medicare at 87 percent, long-term care for seniors at 86 percent and the cost of prescription drugs at 83 percent.

The study also found that in the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania, Social Security and Medicare is the most important issue to Black voters 50+, followed by gun control and voting rights.

Voters are also 90 percent more likely to vote for a U.S. Senate candidate who supports protecting Social Security from cuts to workers' earned benefits. Respondents said they were 91 percent more likely to support a candidate for governor who will protect low-income older Pennsylvanians from property tax increases; and 91 percent more likely to support a candidate for governor who will provide funding to allow seniors needing daily support to receive care at home rather than entering a nursing home.