Consumers are once again driving the economic train (Choo Choo) 🚂
July 1, 2020
We have a new sign of hope in the Coronavirus saga, and this time it’s not another trillion dollar stimulus bill that we, the taxpayers, will have to pay for down the road. This time we are excited by you, the consumer - aka the driver of our economic train - who is getting behind the wheel again and showing signs of a speedier economic recovery.
We all know consumer spending dropped a record amount in April. Noone was going out to eat, replacing old cars, shopping for summer clothes, etc. It was bad. However, consumer spending jumped 8.2% in May as taxpayers ramped up spending on automobiles, recreational goods, restaurants, and hotels.
Consumer spending bounces back
Consumers have been hiding at home to help stop the spread of COVID, but that doesn’t mean their wallets have been hiding, too. Even with businesses closed across the country, U.S. retail sales in the first quarter grew an estimated 3.8% over the fourth quarter of 2019 as consumers took their shopping online. In May, ecommerce sales rose 93% with consumers spending $53 billion in online shopping. We still had to get our goods and services but this time it was limited to impersonal online shops.
According to a recent report from MasterCard, hardware sales rose 36% in May, furniture sales increased 7%, and grocery sales increased 9% year-over-year to what was one of the strongest months for grocery sales volume on record. Another positive sign is that the personal savings rate dropped from 32% in April to just over 23% in May, showing that consumers may not be saving up for the initial doomsday scenario that caused us to shut down Main Street America America in the first place. So, big picture, we’re all shopping more which is good because then we can freely do business and get on with our lives. But what does this mean for your town or neighborhood?
Strength in Numbers: Shop small in Wisconsin
When we all join forces, the combined efforts of our Paychecks can lead to a much quicker economic rebound. For example, since consumer spending is the main contributor to our economy, both nationwide and in local communities, spending is what keeps small businesses well, IN BUSINESS! 😜 Wisconsin business owners need us to keep the lights throughout this pandemic.
Perhaps you’re wondering, what can my small Paycheck do to help out? Here’s where you can spend money around Wisconsin to help some awesome small businesses stay open for years to come...
Ellsworth Dairy Cooperative based in Ellsworth, Wisconsin: a big part of Wisconsin’s cheese ecosystem, Ellsworth Dairy not only supports more than 300 dairy farmers in Wisconsin, it also supplies cheese for many local restaurants, and supports hundreds of jobs in its retail locations.
WWBIC supported small businesses: The Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation put together a directory of small businesses that you can browse in your local area. From pet care and beauty products to manufacturing equipment and marketing services, there are several small businesses to choose from.
Shop small Niche companies in Wisconsin: The website Niche.com is intended to help locals find jobs at small companies near them, based on reviews from previous employees. However, in times like these the website also serves as a great way to know which small businesses could use your support. Think of it as a quick directory of great shops for you to visit. Browse businesses by location and consider shopping there if possible. You can even focus on businesses with reviews like “treats their employees great,” or “is such a great place to work for”.
Not even the writers of Days of Our Lives could have come up with the dramatic plotline 2020 has brought us. While some are talking about a second-wave shutdown in the fall, we're uniting to support small local businesses today AND to stand up to keep them open in the fall.
By signing this pledge, you are committing to “MIND YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS” by choosing to buy from a small local business, instead of the big box alternative, at least once a week. Give it a shot and support your local businesses! Who knows, you might even make a new friend!