American consumers have suffered “amazingAccording to the latest snapshot of their mood by the University of Michigan, confidence has been lost in recent weeks. However, so far, the leaders of the country’s largest consumer-oriented company have not seen this.

Investors are paying attention to the new wave of coronavirus infections, worrying that the Delta variant may undermine the economic recovery.this OECD It now shows that US consumer sentiment is deviating from the upward trend in other markets.

However, several of the country’s largest retailers told a more optimistic story in their earnings announcements this week. Even industries such as catering and tourism, which were hit hardest during the early peak of the pandemic, are reluctant to blame the Delta variant for the recent weakness in bookings.

Price increases may have a greater impact on Americans’ willingness to shop, eat out, and travel, and supply chain bottlenecks will be equally severe in the upcoming holiday season—the most important test of consumer confidence this year. The following are five consumer trends disclosed by the company this week.

Retailers find shoppers are resilient but price sensitive

US Retail sales It was down 1.1% between June and July, but a large part of it was driven by the cooling car market. In contrast, Wal-Mart, Target, and Lowe’s have all raised their sales forecasts this week after exceeding their expectations for the three months to the end of July.

Although the demand for toilet paper and cleaning products has cooled after hoarding in the pantry in the 2020s, the demand for other products is widespread.

Party supplies, clothing, and travel gear were swept away from Wal-Mart’s shelves. At Home Depot, early Halloween decorations sold out almost immediately. Swimwear and children’s wear are also very popular in Target. Another sign of confidence is that more customers are returning to Wal-Mart. Target After a year of online browsing, the store aisle.

Target CEO Brian Cornell told analysts: “We continue to see very optimistic consumers who will certainly be cautious when shopping, and they are wearing masks more and more across the country, but we see today Consumers have tremendous flexibility.”

Richard Curtin, the chief economist of the University of Michigan survey, predicts that once the Delta variant is controlled, consumers will turn to “complete optimism.” But the latest survey also highlights their concerns about inflation.

The report found that complaints about rising prices of houses, cars and durable goods hit a record high, and consumers’ expectations of inflation in the coming year reached their highest level more than a decade ago.

Child tax credits are driving a bumper back-to-school season

As retailers raise prices to pay higher costs, parents who buy pens, notebooks and clothes for their children may face price shocks. Nonetheless, as classrooms in some states have reopened, back-to-school shopping is driving sales in large chain stores.

The Children’s Place said that although the uncertainty of the pandemic prevented it from providing guidance for the whole year, third-quarter revenue “will usher in an explosive start.” Wal-Mart also pointed out that strong demand for school supplies helped accelerate sales in the previous quarter.

per month Child tax credit The Biden administration began distributing in July, each child is worth up to $300, and it seems to be driving this demand. In states back to school earlier, consumers who received tax credits spent 22% more last month than two years ago Brick and mortar Earnest Insights found that retailers who sell school supplies. Those who do not qualify spend 1% less.

Restaurants are trying to explain the slowdown in August

Since mid-July, traffic to booking websites, another sentiment indicator, has been on a downward trend. Similarweb found that in the weeks from July 10th to August 7th, visits to OpenTable and Resy dropped by 12.3% and 10.9%, respectively, but it is not clear whether it was the variation or the summer travel.

OpenTable and Resy's weekly traffic line chart (m) shows that the recovery of restaurant booking website visits has stalled

Laurie Thomas, executive director of the San Francisco Golden Gate Hotel Association, said: “We really can’t tell whether the slowdown in the first weekend of August is related to the variation or the holiday.”

She was “worried that people would back down,” but both she and Andrew Rigi, the executive director of the New York City Hotel Alliance, expressed their wish to release from their city. Vaccine authorization.

“We continue to see people coming in,” said Bob Lutz, CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. But he warned that if the Delta variant is not controlled by November, “that is a completely different issue.” “Covid won’t stop, right?”

Cancellation of flights increases uncertainty in the tourism industry

Companies throughout the travel industry have seen the Delta variant effect, but they still show confidence.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek told analysts that since the variant made headlines, Walt Disney’s parks have experienced cancellations of groups and conferences, but their reservations are still “very strong.”

Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern warned on August 5 that Delta’s progress has created “many unknowns”, noting that the cancellation rate has increased and its business has become more volatile.

He said that June was a “peak” for the booking company, and July looked more like April and May. “It’s hard to tell how the rest of the third quarter will change.”

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said last week that as new bookings exceeded the peak during the summer, “probably because of the Delta version,” Airbnb’s demand in July also fell. However, the housing rental service has not reduced its forecast for the third quarter, and it is expected that the revenue and profit in the third quarter will be the strongest.

Stores are scrambling to make sure that supply keeps up with demand

With the soaring freight and The port roars, Retailers have another concern: Regardless of demand, will supply issues disrupt critical holidays?

Expected delays, many large chain stores Play early, Order more toys, clothes and gifts than usual in case some don’t arrive in time. However, Target’s chief operating officer John Mulligan stated that customers “will still see empty shelves under certain circumstances.”

Low inventory did not scare away all customers. Chief Operating Officer Edward Decker said that Home Depot shoppers usually “repurchase” more expensive tools and appliances based on inventory.

Kathryn McLay, CEO of Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club, said: “We think our buying is very strong.” He pointed out that the membership-only warehouse chain has seen a strong increase in Halloween merchandise and other categories. need. “We hope we can buy more actively.”

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