Industry Insights: November 1, 2023
by Jordan DeGraw • November 1, 2023
Retail Rollercoaster, Real Estate Rumble, & Recession Reversal
Hello, friends! It’s a new month, and I regret all the candy that I ate last night. Now we’re on to that special time of year where retail—I mean family—is the most important thing of all. This week we’re visiting the retail carnival, then scaring our real estate agent friends, and finally laughing at some economists who got it all wrong.
Last month’s retail sales skyrocketed, proving that consumers have a “click first, ask questions later” approach, completely ignoring the economic weather report. Meanwhile, American household wealth has ballooned by 37% since the pandemic began, making it seem like wealth has been on a rollercoaster ride while wages took a leisurely stroll, barely growing by 3%. Most of this wealth surge is thanks to the “real estate-stock-stimulus combo platter” which has been served up since the pandemic.
Over at the Department of Justice, they’re contemplating some legal action to rain on the real estate agent parade by aiming to reduce their hefty 5-6% fees. Lobbyists claim that the current system benefits buyers and the CEO of Redfin even foresees a real estate apocalypse, warning that half the real estate agents in this country might be in need of a new gig soon.
Recent college graduates are tossing their caps in the air while pocketing an average starting salary of $56,000. But hold your applause, because that number hasn’t changed since 2008 when you adjust it for inflation. It’s like the salary fairy has been hibernating for over a decade.
As for remote work, the home office trend has lost some serious steam, with only 26% of U.S. households having someone working remotely at least once a week. Return-to-office mandates hit workers like a Monday morning alarm clock, and in just seven states, more than one-third of people still get to enjoy their WFH pajama parties.
Exactly one year ago, Bloomberg’s economists confidently predicted a 100% chance of a recession within a year. Well, isn’t this awkward…?
Ah, the age-old dance between brands and customer loyalty! You see, brands try to be your BFF but 59% of consumers have said that they would switch brands faster than you can say “loyalty” if they spot a cheaper option. It’s like our friendship bracelets meant nothing!
Prime members went all out during Amazon Prime Day. They grabbed over 25 million items, like they were on a TV shopping spree. But here’s the twist in this retail thriller: Some brands allegedly played a sneaky little pricing game. They hiked prices in the days leading up to the event, only to swoop in and lower them back to normal during the “sale.” Social media was abuzz with shoppers feeling like they’d just been conned at the carnival, only this one didn’t have any amusement rides or funnel cakes…
Just for Fun:
Well, well, well, a whopping 56% of Americans are confessing that they hit the “agree button” on online privacy policies without reading them first. I mean, I’m more surprised that ANYONE reads them at all! Who has the time or the patience to decode those digital scrolls of fine print anyway?
And speaking of things that are about to meet their digital demise, the Grim Reaper has decided to pay TurboTax a visit. Brace yourselves because a whopping 13 states have decided to announce their own free tax-filing service for next year. It’s like the end of an era, and TurboTax might just be reaching for its calculator, trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
Your friendly Industry Insights devotee,