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COVID-19

Ranked: The Fastest Growing and Declining Retail Brands, from 2019-2020

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Retail brands growing and declining graphic

The Fastest Growing and Declining Retail Brands in 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the savage disruption of retail the world over.

Almost overnight, foot traffic in physical stores disappeared, and supply chains were left scrambled. Now at a major fork in the road, many retailers are forced to make tough decisions that were completely unforeseen.

While some global retail giants are laying down their weapons and filing for bankruptcy, others are innovating to save themselves, serving their customers in new and unexpected ways.

Today’s graphic uses data from Kantar’s Brand Z™ report to illustrate the retailers that are growing through adversity, and those that may struggle to survive.

Editor’s note: The report compares brand value of the top 75 retailers globally between 2020 and 2019, using mid-April as a cut-off date for incorporating latest financial information. Some early effects of the pandemic are incorporated in these calculations, but the pandemic’s impact on retail going forward is uncertain.

Retailers Rising to the Top

The calculation of brand value refers to the total amount that a brand contributes to the overall business value of the parent company.

In this case, it is measured by taking the financial value of a brand (latest data as of mid-April), and multiplying it by the brand’s contribution, or the ability of the brand to deliver value to the company by predisposing consumers to choose the brand over others or pay more for it, based purely on perceptions.

Based on these metrics, activewear brand lululemon is the world’s fastest growing retail brand for the second year running. Famous for its culture of accountability and global community events, the brand has struck the perfect balance between a seamless online and offline experience.

Explore the 10 fastest growing retail brands of 2020 below:

BrandBrand Value 2020
Brand Value % Change
2020 Vs. 2019
Category
Country
lululemon$9.7B40%Apparel🇨🇦 Canada
Costco$28.7B35%Retail🇺🇸 United States
Amazon$415.9B32%Retail🇺🇸 United States
Target$10.6B32%Retail🇺🇸 United States
Walmart$45.8B24%Retail🇺🇸 United States
JD.com$25.5B24%Retail🇨🇳 China
Sam’s Club$6.8B19%Retail🇺🇸 United States
Alibaba$152.5B16%Retail🇨🇳 China
Tanishq$2.8B15%Retail🇮🇳 India
Flipkart$4.7B14%Retail🇮🇳 India

Interestingly, Walmart holds three spots in the ranking as it also owns Flipkart and Sam’s Club. Moreover, the American retail giant purchased a stake in Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com, which has grown from 5% to 12%.

The two brands entered the strategic partnership together with the goal of dominating the Chinese market and surpassing Alibaba.

The Recipe for Retail Success

While every retailer has a unique growth strategy, according to the authors of the report, there are three factors that are undeniably crucial for success.

  • Value: Offering value for money through fair pricing for all products or services.
  • Uniqueness: Having a clear purpose and standing for something that consumers find meaningful.
  • Premium: Being perceived as being worth more than the price consumers pay.

Further, research also suggests that successful brands dominate their respective category when it comes to brand awareness and consistently provide experiences that enrich their customers’ lives, as demonstrated by lululemon.

As retailers continue to shift their focus towards digital transformation, consumers are still finding great value in having the best of both worlds when it comes to combining e-commerce and brick-and-mortar, otherwise known as “brick and click”.

Retailers Struggling to Stay Relevant

Unfortunately, there are several brands that haven’t yet mastered this winning combination, and the ruthless pandemic economy has only emphasized their struggles.

Here are the 10 fastest declining retail brands of 2020:

BrandBrand Value 2020
Brand Value % Change
2020 Vs. 2019
Category
Country
Under Armour$2.6B-34%Apparel🇺🇸 United States
H&M$4.7B-27%Apparel🇸🇪 Sweden
Walgreens$6.8B-26%Retail🇺🇸 United States
Tim Hortons$5.4B-20%Fast Food🇨🇦 Canada
Subway$13.8B-20%Fast Food🇺🇸 United States
Burberry$3.8B-18%Luxury🇬🇧 United Kingdom
M&S$2.5B-18%Retail🇬🇧 United Kingdom
Uniqlo$8.2B-16%Apparel🇯🇵 Japan
Dunkin'$2.4B-15%Fast Food🇺🇸 United States
The North Face$2.4B-14%Apparel🇺🇸 United States

Under Armour’s distribution relies heavily on third party retailers and department stores, so the brand has understandably been negatively impacted by the mass store closures.

While the brand focuses on expanding its personalized and connected fitness product offerings, it faces huge pressure from powerful competitors such as Nike and Adidas who already dominate this space.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Shipments

2020 has instigated a retail renaissance of epic proportions through accelerated digitization and changing consumer values. Ultimately, some brands will be better positioned than others to benefit from these changes.

As retailers begin reopening for business, they are presented with an opportunity to recalibrate the current retail landscape by setting new standards for the industry.

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COVID-19

How U.S. Consumers are Spending Differently During COVID-19

How has COVID-19 transformed consumer spending trends so far? We look at credit and debit card spending of 5 million U.S. consumers across 18 categories.

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In 2019, nearly 70% of U.S. GDP was driven by personal consumption.

However, in the first quarter of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has initiated a transformation of consumer spending trends as we know them.

Consumer Spending in Charts

By leveraging new data from analytics platform 1010Data, today’s infographic dives into the credit and debit card spending of five million U.S. consumers over the past few months.

Let’s see how their spending habits have evolved over that short timeframe:

How U.S. Consumers are Spending Differently During COVID-19

The above data on consumer spending, which comes from 1010Data and powered by AI platform Exabel, is broken into 18 different categories:

  • General Merchandise & Grocery: Big Box, Pharmacy, Wholesale Club, Grocery
  • Retail: Apparel, Office Supplies, Pet Supplies
  • Restaurant: Casual dining, Fast casual, Fast food, Fine dining
  • Food Delivery: Food delivery, Grocery Delivery, Meal/Snack kit
  • Travel: Airline, Car rental, Cruise, Hotel

It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has consumers cutting back on most of their purchases, but that doesn’t mean that specific categories don’t benefit from changes in consumer habits.

Consumer Spending Changes By Category

The onset of changing consumer behavior can be observed from February 25, 2020, when compared year-over-year (YoY).

As of May 12, 2020, combined spending in all categories dropped by almost 30% YoY. Here’s how that shakes out across the different categories, across two months.

General Merchandise & Grocery

This segment saw a sharp spike in initial spending, as Americans scrambled to stockpile on non-perishable food, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper from Big Box stores like Walmart, or Wholesale Clubs like Costco.

In particular, spending on groceries reached a YoY increase of 97.1% on March 18, 2020. However, these sudden panic-buying urges leveled out by the start of April.

 Feb 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY SpendingOverall Change
Big Box+14.2%-1.5%-15.7%
Grocery+1.0%+9.4%+8.4%
Pharmacy-3.6%-23.8%-20.2%
Wholesale Club+13.0%+2.6%-10.4%

Pharmaceutical purchases dropped the most in this segment, possibly as individuals cut back on their healthcare expenditures during this time. In fact, in an April 2020 McKinsey survey of physicians, 80% reported a decline in patient volumes.

Retail

With less foot traffic in malls and entire stores forced to close, sales of apparel plummeted both in physical locations and over e-commerce platforms.

 Feb 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY SpendingOverall Change
Apparel-5.6%-51.9%-46.3%
Office Supplies-8.9%-2.8%+6.1%
Pet Supplies+2.7%-18.5%-21.2%

Interestingly, sales of office supplies rose as many pivoted to working from home. Many parents also likely required more of these resources to home-school their children.

Restaurant

The food and beverage industry has been hard-hit by COVID-19. While many businesses turned to delivery services to stay afloat, those in fine dining were less able to rely on such a shift, and spiraled by 88.2% by May 5, 2020, year-over-year.

 Feb 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY ChangeOverall Change
Casual Dining-2.7%-64.9%-62.2%
Fast Casual4.2%-29.6%-33.8%
Fast Food2.0%-20.9%-22.9%
Fine Dining-18.6%-88.2%-69.6%

Applebees or Olive Garden exemplify casual dining, while Panera or Chipotle characterize fast casual.

Food Delivery

Meanwhile, many consumers also shifted from eating out to home cooking. As a result, grocery delivery services jumped by over five-fold—with consumers spending a whopping 558.4% more at its April 19, 2020 peak compared to last year.

 Feb. 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY SpendingOverall Change
Food Delivery+18.8%+67.1%+48.3%
Grocery Delivery+23.0%+419.7%+396.7%
Meal/ Snack Kit+7.0%-5.9%-12.9%

Food delivery services are also in high demand, with Doordash seeing the highest growth in U.S. users than any other food delivery app in April.

Travel

While all travel categories experienced an immense decline, cruises suffered the worst blow by far, down by 87.0% in YoY spending since near the start of the pandemic.

 Feb 25, 2020 YoY SpendingMay 5, 2020 YoY SpendingOverall Change
Airline-7.7%-99.1%-91.4%
Car Rental-6.3%-86.0%-79.7%
Cruise-18.7%-105.7%-87.0%
Hotel-7.0%-85.9%-78.9%

Airlines have also come to a halt, nosediving by 91.4% in a 10-week span. In fact, governments worldwide have pooled together nearly $85 billion in an attempt to bail the industry out.

Hope on the Horizon?

Consumer spending offers a pulse of the economy’s health. These sharp drops in consumer spending fall in line with the steep decline in consumer confidence.

In fact, consumer confidence has eroded even more intensely than the stock market’s performance this quarter, as observed when the Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) is compared to the S&P 500 Index.

Consumer Sentiment Index

Many investors dumped their stocks as the coronavirus hit, but consumers tightened their purse strings even more. Yet, as the chart also shows, both the stock market and consumer sentiment are slowly but surely on the mend since April.

As the stay-at-home curtain cautiously begins to lift in the U.S., there may yet be hope for economic recovery on the horizon.

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Central Banks

How Global Central Banks are Responding to COVID-19, in One Chart

What policy tools are global central banks implementing to combat the economic effects of COVID-19? We compare the responses of 29 countries.

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How Global Central Banks are Responding to COVID-19

When times get tough, central banks typically act as the first line of defense.

However, modern economies are incredibly complex—and calamities like the 2008 financial crisis have already pushed traditional policy tools to their limits. In response, some central banks have turned to newer, more unconventional strategies such as quantitative easing and negative interest rates to do their work.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, central banks are once again taking decisive action. To help us understand what’s being done, today’s infographic uses data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to compare the policy responses of 29 systemically important economies.

The Central Bank Toolkit

To begin, here are brief descriptions of each policy, which the IMF sorts into four categories:

1. Monetary Policies

Policies designed to control the money supply and promote stable economic growth.

Policy NameIntended Effect
Policy rate cutsStimulates economic activity by decreasing the cost of borrowing
Central bank liquidity supportProvides distressed markets with additional liquidity, often in the form of loans
Central bank swap linesAgreements between the U.S. Fed and foreign central banks to enhance the provision of U.S. dollar liquidity
Central bank asset purchase schemesUses newly-created currency to buy large quantities of financial assets, such as government bonds. This increases the money supply and decreases longer-term rates

2. External Policies

Policies designed to mitigate the effects of external economic shocks.

Policy NameIntended Effect
Foreign currency interventionStabilizes the national currency by intervening in the foreign exchange market
Capital flow measuresRestrictions, such as tariffs and volume limits, on the flow of foreign capital in and out of a country

3. Financial Policies for Banks

Policies designed to support the banking system in times of distress.

Policy NameIntended Effect
Easing of the countercyclical capital bufferA reduction in the amount of liquid assets required to protect banks against cyclical risks
Easing of systemic risk or domestic capital bufferA reduction in the amount of liquid assets required to protect banks against unforeseen risks
Use of capital buffersAllows banks to use their capital buffers to enhance relief measures
Use of liquidity buffersAllows banks to use their liquidity buffers to meet unexpected cash flow needs
Adjustments to loan loss provision requirementsThe level of provisions required to protect banks against borrower defaults are eased

4. Financial Policies for Borrowers

Policies designed to improve access to capital as well as provide relief for borrowers.

Policy NameIntended Effect
State loans or credit guaranteesEnsures businesses of all sizes have adequate access to capital
Restructuring of loan terms or moratorium on paymentsProvides borrowers with financial assistance by altering terms or deferring payments

Putting Policies Into Practice

Let’s take a closer look at how these policy tools are being applied in the real world, particularly in the context of how central banks are battling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Monetary Policies

So far, many central banks have enacted expansionary monetary policies to boost slowing economies throughout the pandemic.

One widely used tool has been policy rate cuts, or cuts to interest rates. The theory behind rate cuts is relatively straightforward—a central bank places downward pressure on short-term interest rates, decreasing the overall cost of borrowing. This ideally stimulates business investment and consumer spending.

If short-term rates are already near zero, reducing them further may have little to no effect. For this reason, central banks have leaned on asset purchase schemes (quantitative easing) to place downward pressure on longer-term rates. This policy has been a cornerstone of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed) COVID-19 response, in which newly-created currency is used to buy hundreds of billions of dollars of assets such as government bonds.

When the media says the Fed is “printing money”, this is what they’re actually referring to.

2. External Policies

External policies were less relied upon by the systemically important central banks covered in today’s graphic.

That’s because foreign currency interventions, central bank operations designed to influence exchange rates, are typically used by developing economies only. This is likely due to the higher exchange rate volatility experienced by these types of economies.

For example, as investors flee emerging markets, Brazil has seen its exchange rate (BRL/USD) tumble 30% this year.

In an attempt to prevent further depreciation, the Central Bank of Brazil has used its foreign currency reserves to increase the supply of USD in the open market. These measures include purchases of $8.8B in USD-denominated Brazilian government bonds.

3. Financial Policies for Banks

Central banks are often tasked with regulating the commercial banking industry, meaning they have the authority to ease restrictions during economic crises.

One option is to ease the countercyclical capital buffer. During periods of economic growth (and increased lending), banks must accumulate reserves as a safety net for when the economy eventually contracts. Easing this restriction can allow them to increase their lending capacity.

Banks need to be in a position to continue financing households and corporates experiencing temporary difficulties.

—Andrea Enria, Chair of the ECB Supervisory Board

The European Central Bank (ECB) is a large proponent of these policies. In March, it also allowed its supervised banks to make use of their liquidity buffers—liquid assets held by a bank to protect against unexpected cash flow needs.

4. Financial Policies for Borrowers

Borrowers have also received significant support. In the U.S., government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced several COVID-19 relief measures:

  • Deferred payments for 12 months
  • Late fees waived
  • Suspended foreclosures and evictions for 60 days

The U.S. Fed has also created a number of facilities to support the flow of credit, including:

  • Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility: Purchasing bonds directly from highly-rated corporations to help them sustain their operations.
  • Main Street Lending: Purchasing new or expanded loans from small and mid-sized businesses. Businesses with up to 15,000 employees or up to $5B in annual revenue are eligible.
  • Municipal Liquidity Facility: Purchasing short-term debt directly from state and municipal governments. Counties with at least 500,000 residents and cities with at least 250,000 residents are eligible.

Longer-term Implications

Central bank responses to COVID-19 have been wide-reaching, to say the least. Yet, some of these policies come at the cost of burgeoning debt-levels, and critics are alarmed.

In Europe, the ECB has come under scrutiny for its asset purchases since 2015. A ruling from Germany’s highest court labeled the program illegal, claiming it disadvantages German taxpayers (Germany makes larger contributions to the ECB than other member states). This ruling is not concerned with pandemic-related asset purchases, but it does present implications for future use.

The U.S. Fed, which runs a similar program, has seen its balance sheet swell to nearly $7 trillion since the outbreak. Implications include a growing reliance on the Fed to fund government programs, and the high difficulty associated with safely reducing these holdings.

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