Winners and losers—America and its economy are full of them.
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, employing nearly half of the private sector workforce. But many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat. According to the World Economic Forum, geography makes a great deal of difference in the proportion of U.S. small businesses that have flipped their open sign. In the U.S. as a whole, data suggests that nearly a quarter of all small businesses remain closed.
Here’s how cities around the country are doing, sorted by the percentage of small businesses (in leisure and hospitality) that are closed as of September 2020:
Lile Wall Street, Amazon and Walmart Exist In Another Universe
The COVID-19 lockdown continues to be a driving force for Amazon, which saw its profit triple from a year ago. For the fourth quarter, Amazon said it expects sales to range between $112 billion and $121 billion, or growth of 28% to 38% vs. a year ago.
JungleScout reports that a whopping 70% of American consumers shopped on Amazon in Q3, compared to 35% on Walmart.com and 26% on Target.com.
Nearly half of consumers say they would be fine if they never shopped in a physical store again.
Coffin meet nail.
The United States of Overabundance
The consultancy PwC did an analysis last year of per capita leasable shopping center space in countries around the world. For places like France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, the average retail space was less than 5 square feet per person. In the U.S., that number is more than 23 square feet per person.
“We are clearly over retailed in America,” says Byron Carlock, head of PwC’s U.S. real estate practice. “Suburban sprawl created a situation where we just believed that every time there was a new intersection with four corners we needed to put up four strip centers. We’re learning differently now.”
Given that the nation also has a housing crisis on its hands, perhaps some of these malls can be repurposed for housing. What else can we do with these built environments aside from tearing them down?
Brand USA Not Exuding the Values It Once Did
Jeff Beer of Fast Company weighs in on the importance of brand to a nation and its people.
A brand is essentially the manifestation of an entity’s values, how the world sees it, and how it sees itself. It may initially seem superficial, even glib, to reduce all the complex issues facing America and Americans today to a discussion about “brand.” And yet companies are also complex organizations; far beyond the slick ads and products are things like accounting, supply chains, and HR departments. The brand, though, is ideally the north star that guides it all.
McDonald’s makes burgers, but its brand mission is to make people happy. Patagonia sells a really nice fleece, but its brand mission is to help save our planet. The function of a brand for any given company is to inform and persuade, sure, but also to motivate and inspire. And in that way, America has been among the world’s most potent brands since its inception.
America has surrendered immense brand value in the past four years. There’s no number too high to place on the extreme loss of confidence both inside and outside our borders. The American people and our system of government have both been exposed to its core. Now anyone who looks can see. We’ve been gutted and our insides are laying out in the Sun for any vulture to harvest.
How will we repair the damage that’s been done? There’s no one or perfectly good answer. There are just millions of people doing their best and doing their part. #USA