US & Global Economic Impact Analysis and Forecasts

Freedonia analysts and economists are sharing their insights on how major events are impacting different parts of the US and global economies.

This is How Good the Outdoors Business is Right Now: a Kayak Company Has Come Back to Life

After shutting down in late 2019 with lost contracts and financial challenges, KL Outdoors is back. In June, a newly formed business entity called KL Companies acquired substantially all the assets of KLO Holdings LLC and began operating again under the well-recognized KL Outdoors name.

The company reopened two of its facilities – which made plastic kayaks via rotational molding and thermoforming -- and has a third facility operating under a lease. The company reports that it has produced 64,000 kayaks since June and has 32,000 more on order, and that it again has contracts to sell via major outlets such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Outdoor recreation boomed during the pandemic era as people looked for ways to escape into nature and engage in outdoor activities and socializations that were safer than indoor pursuits. Recreational boating, camping, and hiking are among those key outdoor activities attracting new participants and reviving interest in those who had done them in the past.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Consumer Goods      Covid-19      Plastics & Other Polymers    

Pandemic Boosts Individual Transportation Options Over Public Transit

With reports coming out about high infection rates among transit workers and with broad community spread of the coronavirus, in general, many people are seeking individual transportation options over public transit.

Some of those options have included new or used cars. September retail sales from dealers of motor vehicles and related parts were up over September 2019 figures, although the 9 month sales so far in 2020 are still below where they were at this time of year in 2019.

Others have sought out e-bikes and other lower cost individual transit options suitable for urban use. E-bikes have also benefited from consumer interest in outdoor recreation as some have purchased versions designed for mountain biking or distance cycling. The rising availability of more types of e-bikes coupled with regulations that make them more accessible will also support sales.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including Global Motor Vehicle Outlook 2020, Global E-Bikes, Global Motorcycles, Global Diesel Engines, Global Buses, and Global Electric Motors. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Automotive & Transport      Covid-19    

Halloween Food Gifting: a Social Distancing Alternative to Trick-or-Treating

For American consumers who find the notion of trick-or-treating during the coronavirus pandemic to be more chilling than thrilling, food gifts offer an opportunity to safely scare up both smiles and sweets. Food gifts are a preferable option for gift giving during the pandemic because they are practical, easy to ship, comforting, and a good way to send treats to someone who cannot be visited because of social distancing.

Traditionally, Halloween isn’t a prime occasion for gifting on par with holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays, or the winter holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa). Nevertheless, companies involved in this food market segment continue to strategize to expand options for food gifting for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Father’s Day, Easter, and occasions that take place year-round—such as wedding anniversaries, new births, and sympathy-driven occasions. And Halloween, in particular, hasn’t disappointed.

The spookiest time of the year offers ample opportunity in a food gifting market. According to Packaged Facts’ 2020 National Consumer Survey, 20% of people buying food gifts for others purchased a food gift for Halloween. Halloween is less commonly a gift-giving holiday, with the celebratory focus being placed upon snacks and candy given to trick-or-treaters. Nonetheless, the holiday provides many opportunities for food gifting to personal friends, acquaintances, or family members.

A number of products associated with autumn and Halloween can crop up in gift baskets, such as candy/caramel apples; apple cider; novelty candy and chocolates featuring wrappers with bats, ghosts, and pumpkins; caramel corn; candy corn and pumpkins; and Halloween-themed cookies, cakes, and pies. These are often packaged in a decorative box featuring witches and other related themes.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ food- and beverage-related reports, including Consumer and Corporate Food Gifting and US Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking, Grocery Shopping & Food Trends in the Age of Coronavirus. The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research provides a strong complement to packaged food industry analysis, including packaging industry titles such as the update of Pouches (coming soon), as well as Global Foodservice Single-Use Products and Global Single-Use Packaging Regulations. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Consumer Goods      Covid-19      Food & Beverage      Packaging    

Pandemic Wine Consumption Boosts Bag-in-Box Wine Packaging

Major packaging supplier Smurfit Kappa has released a report done in cooperation with Wine Intelligence. The report found that 3.7 million new consumers in France and the UK moved to bag-in-box wine over the past six months. What was the lure?

  • It lasts longer. Bag-in-box packaging is designed to preserve wine quality longer than a traditional glass bottle once opened, something that is appealing to consumers who might have fewer people drinking wine now that they are consuming at home and with limited entertaining.
  • It is e-commerce ready. Shipping is less costly due to the lighter weight packaging. Additionally, it is less prone to break in transit than a glass bottle.
  • It is value-based. Because it lasts longer, consumers won’t waste wine that they don’t drink quickly enough. Additionally, wine in this packaging tends to be more the affordable, mass market types at this time.

As more consumers become open to the use of this packaging, there will likely be more wine varieties offered in bag-in-box format. When consumers are able to return to large gatherings, outdoor concerts, and other wine consumption events, they will also enjoy this format’s convenience as glass packaging is not allowed in some places.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including packaging industry titles such as the update of Pouches (coming soon), World Wine Packaging, and Wine: United States. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Covid-19      Packaging    

Getting Ready for a Socially Distant Thanksgiving? Food Gifting Might Be the Solution

With more families handling the holidays separately or via a Zoom connection, food gifting and holiday meal shipments is taking on a more important role this year. Packaged Facts’ National Consumer Survey conducted in February 2020 showed that 22% of consumers buying food gifts for others purchased such a gift for Thanksgiving. Additionally, 12% of consumers buying food gifts for themselves did so for Thanksgiving.

Many of the winter holidays place a focus upon family and fellowship around a dinner table. Thus, meal-oriented food gifts are an attractive option for Thanksgiving and other winter holidays. Giving the gift of a holiday dinner can save family or friends a lot of time cooking or shopping for ingredients and allow them to spend more time socializing.

Food gift sales can benefit from social distancing policies as food gifts can bring a sense of comfort and tradition to people who cannot be visited in-person or cannot travel. Additionally, they are a more practical gift in times of economic and personal hardship. Due to most food gift retailers having long-established online ordering and delivery operations, they are well suited to the 2020 shift to online orders and curbside pickup from brick-and-mortar operations.

Full meal gifts have accounted for a very small share of food gifts sent recently. However, this presents an opportunity in the pandemic era for families unable to travel or otherwise join the traditional holiday celebrations. Businesses taking advantage of this trend will span from traditional food gift companies (e.g., Hickory Farms, Honey Baked Ham) to meal kits companies (e.g., Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Dinnerly, Marley Spoon), restaurants, and even grocery stores. 

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ food- and beverage-related reports, including Consumer and Corporate Food Gifting and US Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking, Grocery Shopping & Food Trends in the Age of Coronavirus. The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research provides a strong complement to packaged food industry analysis, including packaging industry titles such as the update of Pouches (coming soon), as well as Global Foodservice Single-Use Products and Global Single-Use Packaging Regulations. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Covid-19      Food & Beverage