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Business Updates

Record Number of Travelers Expected This Memorial Day Weekend

By Staff
Thursday, May 18, 2023 9:49 AM Americans are ready to hit the roads this Memorial Day weekend. According to new statistics from the American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 42 million Americans are slated to travel 50 miles or more from their home during the holiday weekend. This is a 7 percent increase over 2022.
An additional 2.7 million people are expected to travel this summer compared to last summer, showing that COVID-19 is no longer playing a significant role in people’s travel plans. 

This year’s top domestic destinations are Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas.

Are Economic Challenges Over in Wake of COVID-19 Declaration?

By Staff
Tuesday, May 16, 2023 12:45 PM The World Health Organization says the pandemic is over, and the U.S. government has ended its declaration of a public health emergency. But that doesn’t mean the economic challenges brought on by COVID-19 are over.

Americans Ready to See the World Again in 2023

By Staff
Wednesday, May 3, 2023 3:03 PM After nearly three years at home due to pandemic travel restrictions, travelers are ready to experience the world. According to a new report from AAA, international travel is up 200 percent over 2022 figures. Hotels are experiencing the biggest surge in bookings, up 300 percent over last year. Airline tickets have also seen a sharp spike—air travel is up 30 percent for international destinations. 

“There’s nothing like going abroad. Personally, I just renewed my passport for a long overdue trip to see family in the United Kingdom,” Twidale said. “There’s excitement this year for international travel, but also a lot of questions about everything from passports to travel insurance.”  

Twidale recommends making sure all your travel documents are in order before booking your trip.

How the Pandemic Altered Consumer Behavior

By Staff
Monday, March 27, 2023 11:41 AM While e-commerce offers efficiency for both retailers and consumers, growing pain points have emerged for companies, shoppers and the environment.

Will Pandemic Consumer Trends Continue in 2023?

By Staff
Tuesday, January 31, 2023 9:00 AM There are some behaviors that we’ve developed during the pandemic, like streaming instead of necessarily going to the movie theaters, [that] will stick around longer than we expect.

Digital Payments and Tipping Leaves Consumers Frustrated

By Staff
Monday, January 30, 2023 10:23 AM Digital payment methods have been around for a number of years, though experts say the pandemic has accelerated the trend towards more tipping.

Consumers Embracing Self-Serve Checkout

By Staff
Wednesday, January 11, 2023 10:01 AM Shoppers don't see channels, they see one shopping experience however they shop. The days of siloed, omnichannel operations are out of step with how people shop today.

The State of the Economy, Due to Inflation and the Cost of Doing Business, Topped Issues in the Latest Q4 ECPulse Survey as ECPs Look Ahead to 2023

By Staff
Wednesday, December 21, 2022 12:30 AM NEW YORK—The tenuous state of the economy for many ECPs, including inflation and business costs as well as patients’ needs throughout the pandemic were among the concerns within the most recent ECPulse Survey conducted in December 2022 by Jobson Optical Research. Some 38 percent of the ECPs surveyed said their practice has been greatly impacted by the state of the economy versus 58 percent who said their business has been only slighted impacted by the uncertainty of the ever-changing economy.

Sugar Sales Surge as Pandemic Worries Fade

By Staff
Thursday, December 15, 2022 1:44 PM The global sweet tooth is pushing sugar sales upward. A report from Fortune Business Insights found that the global sugar market is expected to grow from $38.58 billion USD in 2022 to $46.56 billion USD in 2029, representing a 2.72 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). 

The pandemic had a significant impact on sugar sales, as demand declined 18.78 percent in 2020, compared to 2019. Lockdowns, supply restrictions and health concerns prompted the downturn, which led to a significant drop in sales. 

The market continues to be impacted by consumers who are looking for healthy alternatives. According to the Global Diabetes Community, more than 415 million people have diabetes. This number is expected to rise to 642 million worldwide by 2040. 

The sale of stevia, honey and jaggery are also expected to have an impact on sales as consumers look for sugar alternatives.

Retail Health Clinics May Double Share of Health Care Market in 2023

By Staff
Friday, December 9, 2022 3:51 PM In 2023, patients will choose retail health for their primary care needs as health systems, constrained by inadequate resources, fail to match retail’s elevated patient experiences.

Holiday Sales Are Up While the Season’s Shopping Window Shrinks

By Staff
Thursday, December 8, 2022 11:00 AM Consumers are still hitting the shops this Christmas despite a looming recession. According to the 2022 Delioitte holiday survey, household finances remain at their weakest level in a decade, however spending is steady as consumers look to cut non-essentials to afford holiday gifts and socializing.

The report finds that consumers are more confident than last year, and low-income shoppers are planning to spend 25 percent more this year for the holidays. On the flip side, consumers are buying fewer gifts, averaging about nine this season, and shortening their shopping time frame from 5.8 weeks to 6.4 weeks.

Despite initial signs that consumers were ready to hit the road again this holiday season, travel numbers are expected to decline ahead of Christmas. Pandemic concerns and increased financial pressures have put a halt to many travel plans. Flight cancellations and continued airport chaos has also dampened holiday travel this year. One in five Americans report that they are worried about travel disruptions this season.

While it’s expected that 15 percent of Americans would travel during the holiday season, overall travel demand is on the decline, with travel services such as hotels taking a larger hit than airlines.

E-Commerce Sales Continue to Grow, New Report Says

By Staff
Monday, November 21, 2022 2:19 PM Americans’ online shopping behavior is shifting, according to a new report from Finances Online. New numbers show that Americans are spending less time shopping than 15 years ago. The report also found that consumers are using online shopping at an increasing rate, driven by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, online sales rose 25 percent as consumers faced long periods of lockdown and short supply of goods. 

Millennials account for 37.4 percent of all American digital buyers in 2020, followed by Generation X (30.1 percent), Gen Zers (18.2 percent), and Baby Boomers (14.6 percent).

Americans clearly prefer to do their online shopping on their digital devices, with 63 percent using their mobile device, 13 percent using their computer, 2 percent using a public computer and 2 percent using a work computer.

Travel Numbers Are Slow to Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels

By Staff
Thursday, November 10, 2022 2:56 PM Americans are slow to return to pre-pandemic travel levels, according to a recently released report from the U.S. Travel Association. The Recovery and Growth Insights Dashboard captures the latest data and trends impacting travel recovery. 

The report evaluates how the broader economy is affecting travel and offers insights to help travelers make a more informed decision. This month, the report shows travel spending improved in September reaching its highest level since the pandemic began, reaching 6 percent over 2019 numbers.

Prior to the pandemic, business travel spending accounted for 26 percent of total travel spending, however, by the end of 2021, it represented just 14 percent of travel spending. Direct business travel spending totaled $306 billion in 2019 with 42 percent of business spending in the form of meetings and events.

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.

Companies Hoarding Workers Could Be Good News for the Economy

By Staff
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 3:29 PM Businesses that experienced unprecedented challenges restoring or expanding their work forces following the pandemic may be more inclined to make greater efforts to retain their employees than they normally would when facing a slowdown in economic activity.