The coronavirus ‘spending boom’ in context, and Gatorade’s thirst for live sports: Datacenter Weekly
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The coronavirus ‘spending boom’
“The American consumer is proving more resilient than predicted,” Bloomberg News reports. “Conventional wisdom, which initially assumed many U.S. shoppers would save their paychecks and stimulus funds until the pandemic subsided, has proved unfounded. The largest American retailers all reported sales in the latest quarter that blew away expectations.”
Bloomberg’s report is titled “Americans Surprise Wall Street With Spending Boom During Coronavirus.” Among the highlights:
• Walmart reported sales of $137.7 billion, vs. the $135.6 billion consensus forecast.
• Amazon reported sales of $88.9 billion, vs. the $81.2 billion forecast.
• Home Depot reported sales of $38.0 billion, vs. the $34.5 billion consensus forecast.
• Target reported sales of $23.0 billion, vs. the $19.8 billion consensus forecast.
Reality check: Of course, Bloomberg News is taking a Wall Street-centric view here; it’s great for Bloomberg’s core audience of investors that certain American retail behemoths, which are disproportionately represented in closely watched stock indices and portfolios, are doing so well.
Vox has another spin on the news: “Government shutdowns of ‘nonessential’ retailers were a huge gift for Amazon, Walmart, and Target” (subhead: “Some feared the pandemic would widen the gap between the haves and have-nots of retail. That fear is now reality”).
Losers: Even the generally upbeat Bloomberg report acknowledges that “retailers who haven’t fared as well are the ones closely linked to the American shopping mall, especially department stores and retailers focused on apparel”—including T.J. Maxx and Kohl’s. Keep reading here.
“The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week to more than 1 million,” Fox Business reports, citing the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor—adding that economists surveyed by Refinitiv, the financial data service, were anticipating 925,000 new claims.
The essential context: “A mind-boggling 57.3 million workers now have filed for unemployment over the past 22 weeks,” per USA Today. “Before the pandemic, the previous all-time high for weekly claims was 695,000 during a recession in 1982.”
Everything you need to know about the nation’s leading advertisers
“The top 200 U.S. advertisers increased ad and marketing services spending a robust 4.6 percent in 2019 to a record $175 billion, the capstone to a decade of advertising growth,” Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson reports in a recent post that serves up some topline stats from Ad Age’s 65th annual Leading National Advertisers report.
That, of course, was then and this is now—but the LNA sets the essential baseline for marketers and marketing activities pre-COVID-19. And it offers the big-picture view of the brands and marketer categories that entered the coronavirus recession with the most momentum.
It is, quite simply, a must-read. Ad Age Datacenter subscribers, of course, get access to the full LNA report.
Gatorade’s big TV push
We recently kicked off a regular look at marketers that have been increasing their TV ad spend. The previous installment covered JC Penney; the subject of today’s close-up, with TV ad spend (national broadcast and cable) shared exclusively with Datacenter Weekly by iSpot.tv, is PepsiCo’s Gatorade. To wit:
• As soon as live sports telecasts started disappearing from TV in March, Gatorade pulled much of its TV advertising and went largely dormant for months.
• With the return of live sports, Gatorade has gotten back in the TV game in a big way. Among all the brands iSpot tracks, Gatorade has jumped into the ranks of the top 40 spenders from July 1 through Aug. 19.
• Live NBA games (which returned to TV on July 30) have accounted for 8.6 percent of Gatorade’s TV ad impressions over the period measured, followed by MTV’s “Ridiculousness” (8.2%) and ESPN’s “SportsCenter” (7.0%).
• ESPN and TNT, the two national networks on which NBA games have been appearing, have together served up 20 percent of the TV ad impressions for Gatorade over the period measured.
See more: Watch one example of Gatorade’s recent creative in the July 20 edition of Hot Spots.
Speaking of the NBA ...
According to Inscape, the data company owned by smart TV giant Vizio, NBA games have been the top programming on TV since the league’s return to live telecasts on July 30. That’s based on what Inscape calls “percent share duration”—i.e, the aggregate time spent watching across its opt-in panel of millions of smart TVs across all dayparts. From July 30 forward, NBA games that have aired on ESPN and TNT have made up 1.67 percent of total TV watch-time.
That’s the market cap of Apple as of Wednesday, when it became the first U.S. company to cross that mark, ICYMI.
To put that in perspective: On Aug. 2, 2018, Apple’s market cap hit $1 trillion. So Wall Street thinks the tech giant is now somehow twice as valuable as it was two years ago.
That’s all it’ll cost you to attend Ad Age’s 2020 Women to Watch Conference & Awards if you take advantage of our early-bird pricing offer (which ends Sunday; tickets are $79 thereafter). The Sept. 15 virtual event is set to feature panels with Dara Treseder, head of global marketing and communications at Peloton; Kat Gordon, 3% Movement founder and CEO; Ann Mukherjee, chairman and CEO, North America at Pernod Ricard; and many more. Get tickets for yourself and your team here.
• “235M Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube profiles exposed in database breach,” The Next Web reports.
• “Covid-19 Data Will Once Again Be Collected by CDC, in Policy Reversal,” per The Wall Street Journal.
• “Nvidia could become the Apple of the data center, analyst contends,” via MarketWatch.
The newsletter is brought to you by Ad Age Datacenter, the industry’s most authoritative source of competitive intel and home to the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers, the Ad Age Agency Report: World’s Biggest Agency Companies and other exclusive data-driven reports. Access or subscribe to Ad Age Datacenter at AdAge.com/Datacenter.
Ad Age Datacenter is Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf.
This week’s newsletter was compiled and written by Simon Dumenco.