Good morning and happy Friday. Have a safe and relaxing weekend, y’all. 😎☀️
“Each person must live their life as a model for others.”
Consumer Trends in the Age of COVID
Today we’ll be taking a dive into spending behavior during the pandemic.
A deeper dive… A Quicken Loans study examining the impact of the pandemic on U.S. consumer spending found that buyers spent 49% more on groceries and 10% more on liquor in March (when compared to February). Some other notable trends:
Ice cream sales rose, while personal care spending decreased. Unilever (parent company of Dove soap & Axe deodorant) said the lockdowns spurred a decline in personal care purchases, while Ben & Jerry’s reported a 15% rise in Q1 sales of ice cream (for home consumption), and a 26% increase in Q2.
Pets got some pampering, too – sales of pet food and supplies increased 30% in March compared to February. Animal grooming fell 56% in April compared to March, but picked back up in May.
With travel bans in place, home improvement expenses rose 35% in March compared to February. Lawn and garden spending was also up 38% in March, 23% in April, and 15% in May, compared to each previous month.
What’s Next? According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal consumption expenditures – the amount Americans spent on goods and services – increased by 5.6% in June ($737.7B). Personal income decreased by 1.1% ($222.8B).
White House officials & House Democrats have reportedly committed to striking an agreement on the next stimulus package by the end of today, while others expressed doubt that a deal was imminent.
So… what are people saying?
US consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis
Questions about the rating system we use? Learn more
Share Today’s Dose of Discussion
NY AG Files Suit To Disband NRA
New York AG Letitia James on Thursday filed a lawsuit seeking to disband the National Rifle Association due to alleged violations of the state’s nonprofit laws. The suit, which is the culmination of an 18-month investigation by AG James, alleges that NRA insiders illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars from the group. The NRA filed a counter-suit seeking an injunction against James, claiming the move was for political purposes.
President Trump announced plans to reinstate a 10% tariff on aluminum imports from Canada (first imposed in March 2018). In May 2019, the U.S. agreed to drop the tariffs after Republican lawmakers told the White House that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement – enacted just over a month ago – would not pass Congress without its removal.
More: In June, 15 CEOs and senior executives across the U.S. aluminum industry signed a letter urging the White House not to reimpose tariffs on Canada.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday said the Atlantic hurricane season is on pace to be one of the worst in recorded history. The 2020 season – which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 – started off with a record nine named storms, and is projected to have between 19 and 25 such storms in total (with 7 to 11 of them developing into hurricanes).
Worth Noting: A former Saudi intelligence official filed a complaint in a Washington, D.C. court alleging that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a hit-squad to Canada to assassinate him.
We Have The Eats
Uber reported a second-quarter loss of $1.78B on revenue of $2.24B, compared to a record loss of $5.24B on revenue of $3.17B in the year-ago quarter. The company’s delivery business (Uber Eats) saw year-over-year adjusted net revenue rise 162%, overtaking its ride-sharing segment – which fell by 66% – for the first time.
Second Is The Best
T-Mobile on Thursday said it has overtaken AT&T as the second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S. Bolstered by an April merger with Sprint, the company said it ended the second quarter with 98.3M total subscribers, eclipsing AT&T’s 92.9M subscriber count. Both companies trail Verizon, which reported 119.9M total subscribers at the end of Q2 2020.
General Motors unveiled Cadillac’s first all-electric vehicle late Thursday. The Cadillac Lyriq is the first of a multibillion-dollar plan for Cadillac to lead GM’s transition from internal-combustion engines to battery-electric. GM has said its next generation of all-electric vehicles – including the GMC Hummer – will be capable of fast-charging, driving 400+ miles on a single charge, and will be profitable on a per-unit basis from the beginning.
Worth Noting: Another 1.18M Americans filed for unemployment last week, the lowest mark since the pandemic began.
Also Worth Noting: Twitter said it will begin labeling accounts and tweets tied to government officials and “state-affiliated media.”
Breaking: President Trump signed an executive order late Thursday night that would sanction U.S. companies & citizens that do business with ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, starting in 45 days.
Building Blocks For Learning
Learning braille can allow people with visual impairments to be more independent, access higher levels of education, and achieve more success in the professional world. However, the tools for studying the tactile communication system are costly, cumbersome, and make it difficult for students to correct mistakes. As a result, the number of people who use braille has been steadily declining, with less than 10 percent of visually impaired children in America utilizing the system.
Seeking to make braille more accessible to young learners, Lego unveiled “Braille Bricks” – a new line of its famous toy blocks designed to make learning the system easy and fun. The original product will consist of 250 bricks – containing the alphabet, numbers, and math symbols – and will be offered to academic institutions free of charge.
Bird Is The Word
Susan Ahalt of Cody, WY, rescued her first bird in the early 1980s. Although she did not know the proper way to care for the animal, an abandoned baby starling named Rex, Susan did her best to raise Rex into adulthood and released him back into the wild after he learned to fly. Prior to that experience, Susan knew that she loved working with animals, but Rex’s successful rehabilitation focused her attention on birds.
For the past 33 years, Susan has single-handedly operated Ironside Bird Rescue, a nonprofit that rehabilitates injured birds of prey – including eagles, hawks, and owls. Susan, who treats up to 175 raptors each year, has gained fame in her region as the “Bird Lady,” running one of only three bird-rescue nonprofits in Wyoming.
Paint By Numbers
Daisy Watt of South Yorkshire, England, is an award-winning artist who has been painting for almost half of her life – a total of just four years. She began painting at six years old in 2016, the year two of her grandparents were diagnosed with cancer. Wanting to cheer her relatives up, Daisy masterfully brushed a beautiful floral landscape onto a simple sheet of paper.
Encouraged by her mother, a primary school art teacher, Daisy now paints vibrant floral arrangements to honor those battling cancer, auctioning off her pieces at galleries to raise money for local cancer charities. During quarantine, the young artist – whose work sells for up to £9,500 – painted floral landscapes to bring in donations for the UK’s National Health System.
Introducing… the world’s first automatic chai maker.
A timeless beverage originating from the Indian subcontinent, brewing the perfect cup of chai is as much of an art as it is a science. The multistep process requires constant supervision and a big kitchen mess – which, of course, leads to a big clean-up hassle.
Do you wish you could try authentic chai – without any of the hassles? With ChaiEasy, now you can. The world’s first automatic chai maker allows you to prepare an authentic cup of chai at the touch of a button. Real chai. Real taste. Freshly brewed.
Spend your time enjoying the chai, not cleaning up after… Enjoy authentic chai without the complex prep and cleanup. Pre-order now and get 25% off. And because you’re a smart and informed DONUT reader, we’re offering you an additional $10 off your first online purchase of $100 or more. Simply use the code DONUT at check-out.