Tusco Display blog
Tusco Display blog


Shoppers Everywhere are saying - I'LL BE BAAAAACK

Arnold Schwarzenegger made the phrase famous in Terminator. The American shopper will eventually make it a reality for retailers, too.

US retail took a body blow in March. Sales dropped 8.7%, then went on a ventilator as April sales plummeted another 16.4% - the biggest one-month drop ever measured. With non-essential stores shuttered and 30M+ Americans newly unemployed, this surprised no one. May results should be moderately better as states loosened some restrictions but things will remain ugly for months to come.

Even when all stores are permitted to resume operations, physical distancing, more limited occupancy, and shopper reluctance will keep sales tamped down. Some stores will never reopen. The economy as a whole will contract for 2020, perhaps more than 5%. Incredible.

At Tusco, we’re proud manufacturers yet we recognize that the American shopper runs the show, generating ~70% of the nation’s GDP. If Chip & Connie Consumer cut spending, our economy stalls.

This COVID-19 period will make the history books but it won’t hold us captive forever. American shoppers will keep buying online, of course, but they will return to stores. The key to that happening for most retailers will be helping shoppers feel safe. According to a new survey, acrylic shields, visible & aggressive sanitizing regimens, masked clerks, lowered occupancy limits, and physical distancing have already helped people feel less nervous about visiting stores compared to a month ago.

Expect shoppers to rein in their spending for a while, reflecting the psychological blow of pandemic anxiety, job losses, and general uncertainty. Savings rates will spike as spending sputters. But they’ll be back.

How we live, work, shop, dine, and entertain ourselves may change in some unpredictable ways. But in the end, shopping is more than a transaction. It is a social activity, a part of the fabric of American life, making it likely that shoppers will return to familiar habits and favorite stores once the pandemic subsides and the economy more fully reopens. As public health officials work to keep us safe and scientists strive to find therapeutic and vaccine solutions, brands and retailers will be working too to welcome the American shopper baaaaaack.