Wednesday, June 15, 2016

US Consumers: Shopping from Home

More and more consumers are shopping online rather than going to the malls. Amazon has been a big enabler of this (non)movement. The company now offers its “Prime” customers Amazon Dash Buttons . So for example, place the Tide laundry detergent button next to your washing machine. When you are running out, press the button to order a fresh supply. There are buttons for Charmin, Clorox, Glad, Slim Jim, Red Bull, Trojan, Huggies, and lots of other household essentials.

During April, e-shopping accounted for a record 27.4% of online and in-store GAFO, which stands for “General Merchandise, Apparel and Accessories, Furniture and Other Sales.” It includes retailers that specialize in department-store-type merchandise such as furniture & home furnishings, electronics & appliances, clothing & accessories, sporting goods, hobby, book, and music, general merchandise, office supply, stationery, and gifts. On a y/y basis, in-store GAFO is up just 0.8%, while e-shopping is up 13.4% .

No matter how they are doing it, consumers continue to do what they do best, namely consume. May’s retail sales gain was a solid one, following a very strong April. As I’ve shown before, consumers’ purchasing power is growing, and they are using their power to purchase. What’s next--Amazon Dash Buttons for stocks and bonds?

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