Growing Optimism for Retail Sales in 2021

There are emerging signs that 2021 will be an excellent year for the toy industry.

Job Growth

The Wall Street Journal reports in an article by Sarah Chaney Cambon, “Blue-Collar Jobs Boom as Covid-19 Boosts Housing, E-Commerce Demand,” that the U.S. added 49,000 new jobs in January. It appears that the growth in online shopping during the pandemic is more than likely going to be permanent, and that has resulted in the need for more warehouse workers and truck drivers.

As the article puts it:

Many economists and companies expect blue-collar jobs to continue growing, though at a slower pace, after the coronavirus is contained. They predict the key factors driving employer demand for blue-collar workers…will largely stay even after vaccines are widely distributed and consumers shift some of their spending from goods to services.

Consumer Confidence is Up

Chain Store Age writer, Marianne Wilson, offers us this headline “Consumer confidence at three-month high in February.” The rising number of those receiving the Coronavirus vaccine has positively impacted the public’s mood. That’s quite a statement when you consider the terrible effects of cold weather, particularly on those who live in Texas.

Sharp Rebound in Consumption

Wall Street Journal writers, Bob Tita and Austen Hufford, give us this headline: “Consumer Demand Snaps Back. Factories Can’t Keep Up.” It appears that, ironically, those companies that cut costs and held on to cash during the pandemic are now being overwhelmed with orders they cannot fill. The authors write that “companies are placing supersize orders to compensate for the extra time it takes to procure supplies from factories and freight operators constrained by global efforts to contain the coronavirus.”

The increase in demand is echoed in my conversations with industry members. In particular, toy industry salespeople with whom I have spoken are telling me that business is excellent. They are getting more and bigger orders and reorders.

An Expected Rise in Retail Sales this Year

CNBC writer, Lauren Thomas, gives us this hopeful headline: U.S. retail sales to rise 6.5% to 8.2% in 2021, as Covid vaccine triggers fastest growth in over two decades, NRF says.” Not surprisingly, e-commerce is expected to lead the way. As the article puts it: “This year, NRF is forecasting e-commerce sales will grow between 18% and 23%, to between $1.14 trillion and $1.19 trillion in sales.”

This year is already shaping up to see continued savings by consumers, record-high stock valuations, escalating home prices and record-low interest rates, all of which are contributing factors toward NRF’s projections for a robust economic rebound.

All-in-all, it adds up to some much appreciated good news.

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