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.

Home Pools: Consumers Trying to Stay Cool Face an Overheated Market

One side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is a reluctance among owners to open community pools and an equal reluctance among consumers to gather at the pools that are open. The same holds for beach areas, which are typically a respite for people seeking relief from the summer heat – some are open, some are closed, but some people worry about encountering the crowds.

So what’s an overheated person to do? Buy a pool.

As a result, all pool types – from in-ground to above ground to kiddie pools, whether molded vinyl or inflatable – are seeing high sales. For consumers without the space or the capital for an in-ground pool, prefabricated pools are the solution. However, many retailers are experiencing pool shortages – sold out stock and wait lists are widespread. Customers have turned to searching for stock in areas that have not yet seen their temperatures spike to summer levels.

According to a Summer 2019 Freedonia National Online Consumer Survey, roughly 25% of respondents reported having a pool or spa at home and a similar number reported having access to a pool or spa maintained by a private neighborhood association or apartment/condominium complex. Therefore, there remains a large segment of the population that might be seeking private water recreation options this summer as access to public and community options is limited or slow to open.

For more information, see The Freedonia Group’s report on Global Pools & Spas. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Consumer Goods      Covid-19    

Las Vegas Casinos Have Reopened, Providing Hints for Adapting Other Tourist Destinations & High Traffic Areas

On June 4, Las Vegas casinos reopened to a surge of traffic on a weekday that rivaled peak weekend crowds. Before reopening, casinos are required to submit their plans for hygiene and social distancing measures to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Here are some elements of the roadmap forward as these facilities adapt to a new COVID-19 reality while accommodating large crowds:

  • Masks – All employees wear masks and/or face shields. While some casinos require all patrons to wear masks, others limit mask requirements to roulette tables and other spaces where shields are not feasible.
  • Temperature Checks – Some facilities check for fever among all visitors, while others only do so for guests checking in to the hotel.
  • Plexiglas Shields & Dividers – These are being installed check-in and other customer service counters as well as at some game tables.
  • Hygiene – Handwashing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed on gaming floors and other high-traffic spaces.
  • Physical Distancing – Decals on floors, removing some pool chairs and other seating, and putting every other slot machine out of service has been done to promote improved guest spacing.
  • Technology – Hotels are encouraging mobile check-in and the use of keyless, contact-free mobile credentialing for room access.
  • Foodservice – Restaurants are encouraging mobile ordering and repositioning bartenders’ drink making stations apart from guest seating.

For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including Global Disposable Masks & Respirators, Global Medical Face Shields, and an expanding catalog of COVID-19 Economic Impact reports, which highlight how various industries are responding to the current crisis with a comparison to recent recessions. Specific Freedonia Focus reports include Gambling, Lodging Services, and Amusement Parks. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.


Automation: Our Ticket to Living With the Possibility of Endemic COVID-19

The conversation is shifting to how do we live with COVID-19, as more experts believe it will become endemic.

Touchless technologies and automation will likely be among the things key to successful reopening. Opportunities exist in:

  • Touchless plumbing – no-touch faucets, toilet flushes, soap dispenser, hand dryers, towel dispensers
  • Automatic doors – moving beyond grocery store and big-box entrances to office entrances and public restrooms
  • Keyless/touchless entry – rise of facial recognition (a contact-free biometric system) for allowing access
  • Contactless payment systems – online ordering, even for in-store or pick-up purchases, and rise of mobile payment options (e.g., Apple Pay, Paypal, Venmo)
  • Automated manufacturing – enables improved physical distancing among workers and makes reshoring strategic industries more cost effective

For more information, see The Freedonia Group’s coverage of plumbing products,windows and doors, and other construction and building products; as well as security reports and info about payments cards and services from our sister publisher Packaged Facts. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Covid-19      Machinery & Equipment    

6 Trends Altered Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic

2019: The sharing economy is on the rise, particularly for transportation.

2020: Ownership is king; no one wants to share.

2019: Tariffs are causing companies to rethink their supply chains.

2020: Pandemic closures and trade restrictions are accelerating that trend.

2019: Innovation happens among smaller, more nimble companies.

2020: The big get bigger, as they are the ones with resources to ride the recession out, purchase from troubled competitors, or finance R&D operations.

2019: Online grocery shopping is a niche.

2020: Online ordering and curbside pick-up are considered necessary parts of doing business.

2019: One-day or same-day delivery is expected for e-commerce orders.

2020: Deliveries of non-necessities might take a week or more.

2019: Single-use plastic bags are out; they generate a lot of waste and are a litter problem.

2020: Single-use plastic bags are in; they are seen as more hygienic than reusable bags, which are brought from home and rarely cleaned.

For more information, see The Freedonia Group’s coverage of global e-commerce, retail bags, packaging industry, machinery and equipment, as well as our sister publisher Packaged Facts’ reports on Online Grocery Shopping, The Amazon Food Shopper, Amazon Strategies and the Amazon Shopper, and Global Food E-Commerce. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.

  Consumer Goods      Covid-19    

COVID-19 Pandemic to Provide Lasting Bump to Online & DIY Sales For Major Home Improvement Retailers

Among the recent earnings call transcripts of Home Depot and Lowe’s were the following points of interest:

  • strong growth in online sales
  • increasing sales to DIY consumers

This was not surprising, as millions of US consumers adhered to various stay-at-home orders promulgated by government officials and avoided going out. Furthermore, many consumers opted to use this time spent at home to complete various renovation and repair projects – from painting rooms to installing decks.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was the primary driver of these sales, there’s nothing to suggest that this will be a one-time occurrence. Online sales growth will continue to climb as both homeowners and construction professionals use online platforms to easily and more safely order the building materials they need. Like many grocery stores, Home Depot and Lowe’s both offer curbside pickup, a feature that saves time for busy contractors that is better spent on completing jobs.

DIY construction activity is also expected to rise going forward, even without the spectre of the coronavirus hanging over homeowners’ heads. In addition providing a sense of achievement to those who successfully complete projects, even minor improvements and repairs can enhance the value, efficiency, and beauty of a residence. Indeed, homeowners who successfully accomplish one or more smaller projects while sheltering in place may feel like trying a larger or more ambitious project, such as installing flooring, cabinets, or even a new kitchen or bathroom.

For more information, see The Freedonia Group’s collection of research and analysis on construction and building product industries. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.