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.

Fast Delivery Gets Faster

The last mile delivery of e-commerce purchases continues to evolve rapidly.

Pre-pandemic, Amazon, Walmart, and others engaged in a massive competitive battle for next-day or even same-day delivery supremacy. However, those providers had to put that on hold to a degree as the e-commerce fulfilment infrastructure was quickly overwhelmed by a massive increase in e-commerce ordering of food and other household essentials as well as of games and other products as consumer became reluctant to shop in person.

Now, that battle is heating up again. But this time, we have some new players.

Now confident with curb-side pickup options from brick-and-mortar stores, some are extending the bricks-and-clicks model to include same-day delivery from local stores. For instance, Bed Bath & Beyond is expanding same-day delivery for its namesake stores as well as its Buy Buy Baby outlets in eligible zip codes via Shipt and Instacart. Target-owned Shipt is also evolving its model, offering retailers a delivery-only service (no personal shopping) known as Shipt Driven. The company continues to offer monthly and annual consumer-facing subscription plans as well as a newer pay-per-order option, from stores such as Target, Costco, CVS, and major grocers.

Additionally, major cities such as New York and London are seeing a growing number of options to get food and other products delivered in 15 minutes via e-bikes. While many of these offer a limited selection of goods, some customers indicate that the variety of products is less important than delivery speed.

Such efforts will provide a competitive advantage and, hopefully, a strong enough delivery infrastructure to support the coming holiday season.

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 Global E-Commerce, Global E-Commerce Packaging, Protective Packaging, Retail Bags, and Global Corrugated Boxes.  Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Covid-19      Services    

California Barring Unauthorized Restaurant Food Delivery Starting in 2021

On September 24, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 2149 – the Fair Food Delivery Act. This law will bar last-mile delivery firms such as DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats from delivering food from restaurants without a signed agreement with the restaurant owner.

DoorDash has long used this tactic, claiming it’s a way to introduce new customers and show restaurants how DoorDash operations add value to their business. Others, such as Grubhub, have concentrated on “partnered” restaurants, only more recently adding “non-partnered” restaurants in areas where they have fewer partnered options to offer customers.

Independent restaurants have typically been more wary of participating with these delivery firms and have chafed against “non-partner” delivery operations. They note that they do not have control over the outcome of the delivery and the quality of the food upon arrival, but they would be blamed – rather than the app – if something were to go wrong. They also worry if prices and menu options are being accurately communicated to customers.

This is part of the continuing evolution of the relationship between last-mile delivery firms and the restaurants themselves. Restaurants are increasingly interested in keeping delivery operations in-house or having more control of the delivery experience in light of the business shift toward carryout and delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.  

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ food- and beverage-related reports, including Food Carryout & Delivery and the companion report with timely consumer insights from our in-house survey capabilities, as well as US Beverage Market Outlook 2020: Grocery Shopping & Personal Consumption in the Coronavirus Era 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 US Restaurant Reopening: COVID-19 Impact on Supplies, Global Foodservice, Surface Disinfecting Wipes, and Global Industrial & Institutional Disinfectants & Sanitizers, as well as packaging industry titles such as Foodservice Single-Use Products, 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      Services    

Changing Consumer Spending: Less About COVID-19, Specifically, & More About the Economy & Spending Priorities

Recent surveys indicate that consumer spending trends have become less linked to pandemic conditions and news and are increasingly linked to recessionary conditions – including unemployment, economic uncertainty, and declining consumer confidence ­– that resulted from the pandemic:

  • Consumers are still staying home, prioritizing spending on their homes, products needed for use in the home, and self-service options over going out.
  • They have expanded the number of products seen as “essential” and worthy of stocking up on.
  • As able, they are spending on certain luxuries within consumer packaged goods – e.g., skin care, home care products, and special food items – since they are not spending on luxuries within travel, entertainment, and eating out.
  • Additionally, risk-averse customers are looking for value, not just a low price, as a way to limit waste and best allocate their resources, particularly if they are still reluctant to go out for frequent shopping trips.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ food- and beverage-related reports, including US Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking, Grocery Shopping & Food Trends in the Age of Coronavirus, US Beverage Market Outlook 2020: Grocery Shopping & Personal Consumption in the Coronavirus Era, and Food Carryout & Delivery as well as the companion report with timely consumer insights from our in-house survey capabilities. The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research provides a strong complement to packaged food industry analysis, the including the Consumer Goods category and Global Foodservice as well as packaging industry titles such as Foodservice Single-Use Products and Global Foodservice Single-Use Products. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Construction & Building Products      Consumer Goods      Covid-19      Food & Beverage      Services    

Are Wall Street Workers Returning?

JPMorgan Chase has called its trading staff back to the office. The company first sent its workers home in mid-March after an outbreak in its Madison Avenue office. All trading workers, except those with child-care issues and medical conditions that make them vulnerable to complications from the coronavirus, were told to return by September 21. The company has developed mandatory training on new in-office rules to help workers get ready for the transition.

Still, companies such as UBS Group are telling employees that remote work and flexibility are going to continue and workers are expected to “return at your own pace and when you feel comfortable.” Deutsche Bank sales and trading staff are also making their own arrangements to continue to work from home permanently, at least for part of the work week.

Companies that are keeping the practice in place note that the tech firms with which they compete for staff are all-in on remote work and many, particularly younger workers, find that attractive.

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

  Covid-19      Services    

A Safer Dining Experience Through Technology

Are you tired of cooking at home or ordering take-out food? Is the replicator used to synthesize complete meals on Star Trek starting to sound like a good alternative food source right about now? Don’t despair. Some restaurant operators are working to lure you back by investing in high-tech solutions to improve sanitation and make you feel more comfortable dining on premise.

For example, Maryland-based Silver Diner recently installed a three-tiered air purification system at 20 of its restaurant locations. The system includes hospital-grade HEPA filters and ultraviolet lights that disinfect air moving through the air conditioning system. An additional set of ultraviolet lights is used to disinfect surfaces overnight.

Silver Diner executive chef and co-founder Ype Von Hengst reports that the chain is the first in the US to install such a system. It’s too early to tell how much this will impact the restaurant’s dine-in business, although Von Hengst says that initial customer feedback has been very positive.

Other restaurants are making available up-to-date electronic menus that diners can access on a mobile device when ordering and allowing them to pay for their meal using a contactless payment system. Touchless systems can also be used to help ensure employee health and safety at restaurants and other businesses. One example is the Check Point Temperature Pedestal developed by P&O Global Technologies. The unit, which uses facial recognition to create a contactless check-point at a door, includes a thermal camera to verify that employees aren’t running a fever as well as a hands-free hand sanitizer dispenser.

Although fewer people now believe that the coronavirus is a health threat to them personally than they did in May, three-quarters of US adults are still reporting in the August Freedonia Group/Packaged Facts survey that they are eating less in restaurants due to the coronavirus. Therefore, all appropriate measures are needed to improve confidence and increase dine-in traffic at restaurants.  

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see Packaged Facts’ food- and beverage-related reports, including US Food Market Outlook 2020: Home Cooking, Grocery Shopping & Food Trends in the Age of Coronavirus, US Beverage Market Outlook 2020: Grocery Shopping & Personal Consumption in the Coronavirus Era, and Food Carryout & Delivery as well as the companion report with timely consumer insights from our in-house survey capabilities. The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research provides a strong complement to packaged food industry analysis, including Global Foodservice and packaging industry titles such as Foodservice Single-Use Products and Global Foodservice Single-Use Products. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Covid-19      Food & Beverage      Services