The Fall Issue of Travel Goods Showcase posts next week, with new product info, industry news and stories about effective strategies being employed by retailers and manufacturers to adapt to our current retail and economic climate. Look for it soon! Subscribe to the email list so you don’t miss it.
On September 9, TGA urged Congress to approve a new stimulus package ASAP, urging Congress to include provisions on: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) extension/expansion; Trade credit insurance; Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) expansion; Legal liability protection; Return to work incentives; Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit; and Duty drawback for charitable donations. ACT NOW! We urge you and your colleagues to visit our Legislative Action Center and send as many letters as possible to your members of Congress and President Trump urging them to take quick action to support our industry during the pandemic.
U.S. Travel Goods Imports Still Down in First 7 Months of 2020 While Trade Continues to Move Away from China
On September 4, the U.S. government published import data for July 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) fell 23.6% by volume in the first seven 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 seven months of 2020, U.S. travel goods imports from China fell 38.2%, with China accounting for only 58.4% 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 (18.3%), #3 Cambodia (33.4%), and #4 Burma (Myanmar) (148.2%) surged in the first seven 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 Cambodia at 7.8% of all U.S. travel goods imports. U.S. imports of travel goods account for approximately 99% of the U.S. travel goods market.
President Trump is considering decoupling the United States’ and China’s economies. “When you mention the word decouple, it’s an interesting word,” Trump said during a Labor Day news conference at the White House. “We lose billions of dollars and if we didn’t do business with them, we wouldn’t lose billions of dollars. It’s called decoupling, so you’ll start thinking about it.” The president also threatened to block companies who choose to outsource jobs to China from receiving federal contracts, and vowed to bring manufacturing jobs and supply chains back to the U.S. if re-elected in November. READ MORE
Before COVID-19, suppliers routinely relied on so-called trade credit insurance to get the reassurance they needed to design products, receive orders, and ship to retailers. Now, with the pandemic creating so much economic uncertainty, many retailers are struggling and credit insurers are unwilling to take on the risk. In fact, many insurers will only provide protection on orders to big box stores and others that have been able to withstand the pandemic, leaving in the lurch a huge swath of non-essential small and medium retailers that are still trying to claw their way out of months of lockdowns that decimated their businesses. READ MORE
Boston aerosol transmission expert and former Harvard University professor Dr. David Edwards said that there are a variety of ways for individuals to better keep themselves safe while travelling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Edwards said that COVID-19 is able to be transmitted through both large and small droplets from the respiratory system, some so small that they can transmit through some face coverings and travel great distances. According to Edwards, 6 feet of social distancing and masks are important for thwarting the large droplet transmissions, but the smaller droplets are of a particular concern in indoor environments where they can accumulate, including buses and airplanes. READ MORE
Tripadvisor released findings from its Seasonal Travel Index for Fall, which provides insight into where Americans are visiting this autumn as markets continue their path to recovery during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Data from the Tripadvisor survey shows domestic travel for the fall season continues to gradually recover, with 65% of all travelers planning domestic fall getaways. Of those travelers, 79% will hit the road during September, the busiest fall travel month. READ MORE
We’re in the middle of a nationwide reckoning over race. One thing that’s come up a lot in that conversation is workplace diversity. After the police killing of George Floyd, companies from fast food chain Shake Shack to bidet company Tushy published statements condemning racism, stating they were committed to creating racially equitable organizations. But there is a difference between performative and active allyship. READ MORE
Retail is having a Darwin moment. Businesses that can adapt to the realities of COVID-19 are doing so quickly while those that can’t are dying out – which probably needed to happen. The result will be a healthier Main Street that can better compete with online natives and offers better services for consumers. READ MORE
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Jamie Salter and David Simon, one a licensing expert and the other a mall operator, are reshaping the shopping landscape by acquiring bankrupt brands like Brooks Brothers and Forever 21. READ MORE
SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY
TikTok has launched a new Marketing Partner Program, which is the platform’s latest element in its push to expand its advertising potential and maximize opportunity for brands. The new Marketing Partner Program provides a range of approved ad and creative services that can assist brands in better achieving their marketing goals on the app. READ MORE
The Transportation Security Agency reported Tuesday that more people flew over the Labor Day weekend than any other point in the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 935,308 passengers went through TSA checkpoints on Monday, setting a new record. That betters the previous high of 862,949 that was set on Aug. 16. READ MORE
THE GOOD NEWS NETWORK
In Branson, Missouri, an old Days Inn hotel which has been vacant for 8 years has found new life, and been given a noble purpose. A Los Angeles-based construction company purchased the property, along with other shuttered hotels, fulfilling its mission to turn failing commercial spaces into affordable housing. The company envisions that these kinds of efficient fixes can help address the low-income housing shortage in the nation today. READ MORE
Missed last week’s issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.