Managing Director & Senior Partner
We’re seeing signs of stabilization in consumer sentiment worldwide—and even a few glimmers of future light in August, as fears surrounding COVID-19 become slightly less intense and optimism over progress toward a vaccine increases. For example, coronavirus-related concerns appear to be diminishing in the US, with out-of-home activities rising to levels similar to those we saw in June. This probably reflects the recently declining rate of new COVID-19 cases in the US, following a resurgence in July.
Spending expectations remain below pre-COVID-19 levels, but we are seeing some increases, most notably in online spending in China. Although we don’t envision a full recovery in spending for some time, we’ve seen slight increases this month as consumers resume certain activities, such as eating at restaurants and staying at hotels. COVID-19 has continued to curtail travel this summer, but we’ve seen some gains in travel activity during the period. TSA screenings at airports are down 67% in August, but that is a marked improvement over April, when they were down 96%—and pent-up demand remains high. Younger consumers are at the forefront of much of the recent travel activity, as they have been fastest to resume travel, in keeping with their lower levels of concern about catching the virus.
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