Posted by Larry Doyle on May 5th, 2011 8:58 AM |
With gasoline prices running upwards of $4.00-4.50/gallon, we should not be surprised that consumers are changing behaviors. How so? Let’s go online. In fact that is exactly what more and more consumers are doing as the Financial Times highlights, High Petrol Prices Fuel Jump in Online Shopping,
Online shopping grew by its fastest rate in nearly four years in the US last month as rising fuel prices prompted Americans to cut trips to malls and buy on the internet instead, according to MasterCard Advisors.
US consumers spent $13.8bn online last month, a 19.2 per cent jump from April last year, according to the SpendingPulse survey, which is based on spending on MasterCard credit cards and estimates of other forms of payment.
The increase is likely to outpace sales growth at bricks-and-mortar stores, due to be released on Thursday. The consensus of economists’ forecasts is that sales at stores open a year or more rose 7.7 per cent in April.
While consumer behavior changes, are we supposed to blindly accept the traditional methods of capturing and measuring retail purchases? Why should we be so archaic in this day and age? Why should we be so trusting of entities which will “tell us what they think we need to hear” and sugarcoat it in the process. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on October 14th, 2010 7:26 AM |
Economics is the most inexact of sciences. As much as we may think we can understand our future economic landscape based upon the study of the past, a variety of twists, turns, and unknown challenges inevitably come upon us. This reality has never been more prevalent than in our ‘Uncle Sam’ economy circa 2010. Do not think for a second that the ‘grand wizards’ in Washington currently undertaking the massive financial experiment throughout our economy do not appreciate this. They do. They just would not admit it.
Can we look toward private enterprises in an attempt to ‘see through’ the Washington smoke and mirrors? In fact we can. I make no bones about my admiration for the work of Rick Davis at Consumer Metrics Institute. As Rick so boldly states, the work at CMI is focused on:
“Bringing the measurements of critical economic activities into the twenty-first century by mining tracking data for an understanding of what American consumers were doing yesterday.”
Well, what were our fellow Americans doing yesterday and the days before that? (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 31st, 2010 5:56 AM |
I have informed more people than I care to count that I do not believe we are going to have an economic double dip. Am I turning positive on the economy? Do I see blue skies and fair winds on our economic horizon? No, regrettably not. The reason I do not believe we will have an economic double dip is very simply I do not believe that our “real” economy, not the government sponsored version, ever really came out of the initial recession.
People may care to debate or challenge me on my premise, but my ‘sense on cents’ leads me to believe that we have been experiencing one long and ongoing recession. I definitely sense that more people are now coming to accept this reality as well. This ‘walking pneumonia’ economic syndrome is captured in a recent commentary by Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute,
The “Great Recession” that began in 2008 has had many nuances, but among the most important are that many of the observed changes in consumer behavior have begun to linger, much as the recession itself now appears to have done. If a new consumer thrift paradigm becomes endemic — either because of natural demographic processes or scarred generational memories of upside-down loans — the lingering recession might well end up being measured in years, not quarters as commonly expected. (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on August 23rd, 2010 7:56 AM |
Do you increasingly feel that you are not receiving the full story in terms of our overall economy? Do you feel as if the ‘political class’ in Washington is speaking a different language than the ‘working class’ in the rest of the country? Do you scratch your head as to why economic releases are often immediately panned and quickly thereafter revised? (Case in point, the initial release of 2nd quarter GDP on July 30th was quickly thereafter projected to be halved.) For all of the above reasons, more and more Americans are relying on independent economic research and analysis. Two of my favorites in this camp (aside from Sense on Cents, of course!!) are John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics and Rick Davis of Consumer Metrics Institute.
I recently highlighted Williams’ work in writing, What Is the Real Rate of Unemployment in the United States? In that commentary, I referenced Williams as he had stated:
That began a lengthy process of exploring the history and nature of economic reporting and in interviewing key people involved in the process from the early days of government reporting through the present.
For a number of years I conducted surveys among business economists as to the quality of government statistics (the vast majority thought it was pretty bad), and my results led to front page stories in the New York Times and Investors Business Daily, considerable coverage in the broadcast media and a joint meeting with representatives of all the government’s statistical agencies. Despite minor changes to the system, government reporting has deteriorated sharply in the last decade or so. (LD’s emphasis) (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on July 30th, 2010 11:18 AM |
The equity markets are flat so the 2nd quarter GDP report must have been properly priced into current valuations. Perhaps, but I would neither go that far nor would I be so brazen as to say that the markets are wrong in how they trade. Markets are never wrong. The market is the market. All this said, let’s navigate with Rick Davis inside the 2nd quarter report and the prior revisions.
July 30, 2010 – Inside the New GDP Numbers:
On July 30th the Bureau of Economic Analysis (‘BEA’) released its “advance” estimate of the annualized growth rate of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (‘GDP’) during the 2nd quarter of 2010. Per their report, the GDP grew during the quarter at an annualized rate of 2.4%, down from 3.7% in the 1st quarter of 2010. Several points from the report merit comment: (more…)
Posted by Larry Doyle on July 8th, 2010 4:17 PM |
When I see any economic data addressing consumer retail activity, I immediately think of Rick Davis and his fabulous work at Consumer Metrics Institute. On that note, and given yesterday’s strong upward move in the market driven largely by a positively perceived ICSC report, I went straight to the source and asked Rick for his thoughts. I had the following exchange today:
Any quick comments or thoughts on the report released by the ICSC? I
know that the report captures same store sales which makes for a big
disqualification and is not properly captured but any thoughts you may
have are always deeply appreciated.