The rapidly approaching summer that is sending heat waves across the U.S. is also igniting the economy. The pandemic is still an adversary; however, many industries have battled back from the economic downturn that began last year. Previously we predicted a moderate economic recovery that seems to be holding true. High vaccination rates, boom. Every industry is facing an unprecedented amount of demand and it has presented a golden opportunity for companies to get their products on store shelves. Additionally, traditional supply chains have lockdown fatigue, and a plethora of job openings have all contributed to an economy that is ready to not ironed out all of their issues and that will present openings for others.

CSG had predicted a growth rate of about 8% for 2021 and recently released Q1 data from the Census Bureau has the year over year (YOY) growth rate at almost 7%. This is fantastic news and means we are on our way to the V shaped recovery the economy needs. The speedy recovery is a far cry from what we faced during the Great Recession which is likely due the singular nature of the 2020 economic downturn. The U.S. has made great strides in inoculation and COVID-19 could be brought down to a manageable level. This measure of recovery has put us in uncharted territory and the uncertainty of how long it will last means companies should strike now. Industries that were hit the hardest have the opportunity to ride the wave and potentially undo some of the damage of the last year.

We are on the precipice of an economic recovery, and it appears that pent up demand and high immunization rates pushed us over the top into a return of pre-pandemic life. Industries such as home centers, hardware chains, sporting goods and apparel stores have seen dramatic growth rates in Q1 in some cases going over 20% YoY. General merchandise stores have seen less dramatic growth, yet they were also an industry that did not suffer as great of a drop during the pandemic. Restaurant chains are still lagging behind, however it is estimated that their growth and recovery did not begin until March. The lifting of lockdowns and the availability of vaccines has given consumers the confidence to return to stores and spend money. Growth and spending should only continue as we move into the summer months.

The explosive growth for many companies has come with both challenges and opportunities. The renewed demand from consumers has not been meet with growth from the supply chain. Stores are having difficulties keeping shelves stocked and an empty shelf is always an opportunity for someone else. Now is the time to get products in front of buyers in order to take advantage of this event. Hopefully this opportunity will last for an extended amount of time; however, the time frame for the economic boom is not certain and the best way to recover is to act now. The economy has come a long way in a years’ time and the summer is up for grabs as the biggest shopping holidays are less than half a year away.