Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks for Some Hopeful Signs for Retailers, Jobs, Factory Output and Home Construction

Don't underestimate the power of a Black Friday shopper

So Americans are getting soft, you say? We’re getting, fat, lazy, unmotivated as the rest of the world passes us by, you say? Well you haven’t seen Americans shop on Black Friday. If there’s one thing we don’t need to outsource it’s the ability to find a deal. Before you choke on that turkey wishbone in laughter, think about how the web is transforming the shopping experience. Consumers have never been better armed with comparative pricing information, specs, sizes, colors and where to find the best deals. Retailers have to keep opening earlier, competing with both online and bricks-and-mortar sellers and motivate their employees to work, longer, harder and faster when they’d normally be home (sleeping) with their families.

OUR TAKE? When properly motivated, Americans can do anything they set their minds to with resourcefulness, determination and stamina—kind of like a nation of small business owners.

Macroeconomic indicators

For the holiday season-to-date, consumers have spent $9.7 billion online -- marking a year-over-year growth rate of 14 percent, according to new comScore data. During the first 20 days of the season -- which began on November 1--daily online spending peaked on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at $688 million, comScore reports.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since early April, a sign that layoffs are easing and hiring might pick up--it was the fourth decline in five weeks. Meanwhile, a Commerce Department report said that builders started slightly fewer homes in October, but submitted plans for a wave of apartments, a mixed sign for the struggling housing market.

A rebound in manufacturing could lead to more hiring. Factory output grew in October for the fourth straight month, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Production of trucks, electronics and business equipment all rose, and building permits, a gauge of future construction, rose nearly 11 percent. The increase was spurred by a 30 percent increase in apartment permits, which reached its highest level in three years. Need more? Construction starts of single-family homes, which make up about 70 percent of residential home construction, rose nearly 4 percent last month.

While new homes account for just 20 percent of the overall home market, they have an outsize impact on the economy--each home creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Online video can boost your business

Still not sure if online video is worth it? Check out these new findings from

-- Nearly 80 percent of U.S. Internet users –180million+ people—will view online video over the course of the month

-- The typical Internet viewer watches almost 20 hours of online video per month
--The average online video consumed is a full 5 minutes long
--The most watched videos add value by “teaching viewers something or covering a topic they care about,” says comScore.

What B2B marketers hope to accomplish with social media tools

According to new data from Chief Marketer’s 2011 Social Media Marketing Survey it is:

-- Drive traffic to websites (66%)
-- Generate sales or leads (48%)
-- Address company fans (47%)

Yes, times are tough. But give thanks this time of year that you have the brains, the team, the family support and the resources to figure out ways to get through it. You will. And we’ll all be stronger for it.
Happy Thanksgiving. HB


1 comment:

Isaac M said...
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