A Most Unusual Holiday Shopping Season

2020 has been unprecedented (so unprecedented, in fact, that the media arm of our legacy terminal competitor used our stats for the surge in the word “unprecedented”). We went into the holiday shopping season knowing that there will be surprises: back in September, we did some work for our friends in the Financial Times, showing the (unprecedented) low inventory levels for 33 retailers. We also pointed to the related trucking capacity issues around that time during the BattleFin Conference Macro Panel (panel video link) where we told viewers point blank to “order now!”

So, besides the widely-reported Christmas tree shortage (NPR Planet Money podcast), what else caught our eye?

Port congestion was a topic on recent conference calls: the supply chain/inventory issues continue.

We also saw a spike in transcripts with mentions of “shipping costs” in August and November (retailer earnings usually lag by a month due to their January fiscal year end).

We did see (physically) lines outside one retailer: Gamestop! We checked the search interest and web traffic, and they seem to confirm our observations.

The surge in “Outdoor” continues (we wrote about the trend a few months ago). American Outdoor Brands gave some numbers in December: this translates to more rods and reels, shells, and camo clothing.

Snow sports enthusiasts are buying season passes from Vail Resorts

And it is pretty fair to say that every (consumer) company is an e-comm company with the store closures and restrictions around the world: Mattel saw 100% growth in their DTC business.

Housing and housing-related purchases are hot, too. Lovesac saw a 40%+ growth (we highlighted the strength in Homebuilders using our NLP in July).

While “most” apparel retail has had a difficult year, online stylist Stitch Fix reported 10% growth in the most recent quarter, and guided even higher for the fiscal year. 

Similarly, Farfetch, a luxury online boutique collection, is seeing great growth.  

And, finally, if you saw an increase in the holiday cards that feature a new pet, you are not alone. We are seeing a sustained, double-digit increase in search interest in pet adoption along with a relentless rise in the stock prices of Chewy (online pet goods), Fresh Pet (fresh pet food), and Trupanion (pet insurance).

P.S. Let us help you with some data in the eternal debate: Die Hard is a Christmas movie!

Stacked Google search trends for Die Hard:

From all of us at Sentieo, happy holidays, and a prosperous new year!