Will a Covid-19 vaccine mean no $1,200 checks?

Plus, retail preps for Black Friday and the US baby bust

Nov 20, 2020 | Current events
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How two vaccine breakthroughs could lead to less stimulus

Pharmaceutical corps Pfizer and Moderna are competing for valedictorian. Both unveiled Covid-19 vaccines that are close to 95% effective and will apply for emergency use authorization within days. But will an effective vaccine mean less stimulus? Some economists think yes, even though Americans need fiscal support now more than ever. Certain types of aid like student loan deferrals and unemployment benefits are set to expire next month, but with vaccines in the pipeline, Congress may be feeling less pressure to deliver an expensive stimulus deal. There’s plenty to feel optimistic about with the pandemic’s potential end finally in sight, but with cases spiking across the country and states announcing new lockdowns, it could be many months before the economic benefits of an effective vaccine are felt.

Retailers roll out early discounts to avoid Black Friday crowds

Major US retailers have the Black Friday formula down pat. Stock the shelves. Advertise “doorbuster” deals. Prepare for 3 AM crowds. But in 2020, retail has replaced the one-day event with a season of savings, and it’s not just for shoppers’ convenience. Big box stores have promoted curbside pickup and online ordering for months (because: Covid-19). But most fulfillment centers aren’t equipped to handle the rush of orders Black Friday could bring. So retailers are working overtime to roll out their best Black Friday deals before November 27. Stores like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy are staggering discounts over several weeks and offering enhanced price-match guarantees to reassure shoppers. Meanwhile, fulfillment centers might catch another break from shifting shopping trends. A whopping 64% of consumers said they’re less likely to shop on Black Friday this year than they were just a few years ago.

Covid-19 baby bust spells bad news for some businesses

Early logic reasoned that stay-at-home orders would bring a baby boom, but new think-tank data suggests the US is actually in for a major baby bust. US birth rates have been on the decline for years; add a global pandemic to the mix, and 500,000 fewer babies could be born this year (compared to just 44,172 fewer babies born last year). Companies like Nestlé and Huggies are bracing for a drop in formula and diaper sales by shifting R&D dollars to creating nutritional products for seniors. But fewer babies could bring an upside, with parents spending more on each child they do have. And companies have jumped to cater to this cost-unconscious market. Huggies debuted pricey plant-based diapers, while Nestlé launched a vegan-friendly milk formula. Whether these pricier products actually make for healthier babies is up to parents to decide.

Twitter’s fave “map guy” drives a sales spike at The Gap

No, not the premium gas gap or the K-shaped recovery gap — we’re talking about the Gap that sells your favorite sweatshirt from the early aughts. The fashion retailer reported a 90% spike in unit sales for its khaki pants after “chartthrob” Steve Kornacki sported a pair on air. ICYMI, the “map guy” and his fashion sense fell into the national spotlight earlier this month, as Kornacki reported tirelessly on the national election results for MSNBC.