The COVID-19 pandemic has changed travel forever. The innovators in our industry – the companies looking at the pandemic as a business opportunity – are beginning to manufacture and ship the products that will allow us to safely travel tomorrow. Read Future Travel Gear, Today for a preview of the bags and accessories that are meeting our new travel challenges.
On October 6, the U.S. government published import data for August 2020. U.S. Travel Goods Imports (as described under HTS Heading 4202 – click links to get specific import data on luggage, backpacks, flatgoods, handbags, business cases/laptop bags, and travel bags) slid 23.2% (by volume) in the first eight months of 2020. In addition to the obvious impact of COVID-19 on the industry, the latest import numbers show the accelerating trend away from China. In the first eight months of 2020, U.S. travel goods imports from China fell 37.4%, with China accounting for only 58.3% of total U.S. travel goods imports. For comparison, in 2016, China accounted for 84.7% of all U.S. travel goods imports. Meanwhile, despite the pandemic, U.S. travel goods imports from #2 supplier Vietnam (16.4%), #3 Cambodia (30.7%), #4 Burma (Myanmar) (152.4%), and #8 Mexico (10.4%) surged in the first eight months of 2020. In fact, U.S. travel goods imports from Vietnam now account for 18.4% of all U.S. travel goods imports, followed by #3 Cambodia (7.8%), #4 Burma (Myanmar) (3.7%), #5 India (3.2%), and #6 Indonesia (1.5%). U.S. imports of travel goods account for approximately 99% of the U.S. travel goods market.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California on Thursday said she would not agree to a stand-alone aid package for airlines unless the Trump administration committed to a broader pandemic relief plan to help struggling Americans, declaring that “there is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill.” READ MORE
Business leaders across America expressed dismay after President Donald Trump announced that his team will halt stimulus talks until after next month’s election, with executives from the retail and air travel industries saying more jobs will be lost if the economy doesn’t get immediate aid. “This is very unfortunate. The economy is not something that can be put on hold until a time that might be more convenient,” Steve Lamar, the head of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “People are suffering today.” READ MORE
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Hoteliers are making plans for a future that now must consider new outbreaks and pandemics in the same way that public buildings permanently changed their security measures in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Mobile guest rooms, enhanced contactless room controls, robotic servers and pop-up dining areas are just a few of the ideas that hotel designers are considering for the post-COVID travel world. READ MORE
This year, the holiday season is laced with danger. Individually, Americans have been tempted over and over during the pandemic to violate public health experts’ recommendations, whether by the celebration of a family milestone or just a drink at a bar. But the holiday season represents a different, more collective sort of temptation that’s likely stronger than any of the ones that came before it. READ MORE
Many of us have been forced to rethink travel plans in the wake of COVID-19, but if you’re soothing your canceled vacation blues by daydreaming about future adventures, Lonely Planet’s new “Ultimate Travel List” might be just what you need. READ MORE
Experts estimate it could be years before people fly as often as they did. This bodes very poorly for the flight industry. Months after air travel plummeted at the dawn of the pandemic, money from the government bailout is drying up. That’s left many airlines and airport-related businesses scrambling for ways to convince travelers that it’s safe – and somewhat easy – to take to the skies. READ MORE
SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY
When we talk about social media marketing, we’re almost always talking about the major social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. For obvious reasons, these are the platforms marketers migrate to when looking to promote their brand. But what about the less-popular apps with niche user bases? READ MORE
Data shows a cautious population living paycheck to paycheck, ready for conservative holiday spending. In retail, the need to simplify, integrate and bring gift card and loyalty programs online to maximize their impact has never been greater, while consumer engagement has the power to remove retail friction. And sellers are adopting biometric-based verification and artificial intelligence technologies to attract shoppers and keep fraudsters away. READ MORE
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
Many decision-making frameworks aim to help leaders use objective information to mitigate bias, operate under time pressure, or leverage data. But these frameworks tend to fall short when it comes to decisions based on subjective information sources that suggest conflicting courses of action. And most complex decisions fall into this category. READ MORE
NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
Evan Gold, executive vice president of global partnerships and alliances for business weather intelligence firm Planalytics, pays more attention to the seasons than most. He focuses on information technology, merchandising, revenue management, store operations and logistics. Gold has more than 20 years’ experience in retail and wholesale, working at Macy’s and LakeWest Group before joining Planalytics in 2005. He spoke with NRF about the ways weather impacts retail and the supply chain. READ MORE
Missed last week’s issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
- The Loss of Our Friend, Garrett Lai (TGA)
- How Luggage Brands Are Rethinking Suitcase Design Amid the Pandemic (CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER)
- Cruise Ships Torn Apart After Coronavirus Sell Off (CNN TRAVEL)
- Black Friday is Over: Here’s Why Retailers Are Touting Weeks of Deals This Year (CNBC)
- 6 Ways the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Forever Altered the Retail Landscape (CNBC)