When Black-owned businesses succeed, our Market succeeds

NRF hosted a Retail Advocates Town Hall with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on June 4 to crucial talks on the unique challenges facing Black-owned priorities and businesses of the caucus. The mission of the CBC is to make sure that African Americans and other marginalized communities in the USA have the opportunity to attain the American Dream.

“When black-owned businesses succeed, our market overall succeeds,” said CBC member Representative Colin Allred, D-Texas.

Along with Allred, leading members of the CBC addressed almost 70 participants throughout the town hall, such as Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas; Eddie Bernice Johnson, D- Texas; and Marilyn Strickland, D-Wash.

Co-hosted by small business owners Margaret Barrow and April McClung, the city hall started with a discussion on the challenges facing entrepreneurs of color. For McClung, owner of Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes in Homewood, Ala., ensuring access to funding is crucial,”Many of the Dark companies I know are struggling with resources and capital,” she said. “All we are searching for is an opportunity to create a difference.”

Barrow, founder of specialization granola merchant It is NOLA in Brooklyn, N.Y., sees the perception of others as a barrier, referring to experiences where Black business owners may not be viewed as serious entrepreneurs because of years of systemic racism.

Maybe not”being looked at like somebody who’s a business owner” is a continuing issue, Barrow said. “We want to be treated as our voice means something.”

During the town hall, Lee shared her support for Black-owned companies and noted the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on them. “You create an economic engine, but you also create opportunities and jobs,” she said. “We’re grateful for people who have lived” the pandemic.

According to a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, 41 percent of Black-owned businesses are shuttered by COVID-19, compared with only 17 percent of white-owned companies.

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Johnson, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, shared her perspectives on negotiations for an infrastructure bill that’s much needed by retailers.

“What comes from the bundle will depend on how the White House can work out something in the Senate,” she said,”because that is where the strictest margins are.”

The value of vaccinations was a subject with all the congressional speakers. “If we want our economy to return at full strength,” Strickland said,”we want more people vaccinated, and that has the African community”

The trick to fully reopening, according to Allred, is”to get everyone vaccinated quickly.” Vaccinations will”assist us innovate with confidence and create a level of comfort that will bring customers back to your own doorstep,” he said.

“I encourage [retailers’] workers to get vaccinated,” Lee said.

Also within the town hall, members of the Texas Retailers Association met with Allred and Johnson in a digital constituent breakout room. “These meetings, together with two important members of Texas’ congressional delegation, provided TRA with invaluable opportunities to meet directly with those lawmakers to go over the most recent national priorities of Texas retailers,” said TRA President and CEO George Kelemen.

As more of the nation becomes vaccinated and local and national restrictions lift, customers are planning holidays, making reservations for dinner outside and organizing family gatherings for events such as Father’s Day.

This year’s yearly Father’s Day poll conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics found that consumers plan to spend a record $174 on average on presents for dads, granddads and other father figures in their lives. To understand what is behind those numbers, NRF’s research team took a closer look at the data to see what’s remained the same and what is different about Father’s Day this year.

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Shoppers still need to splurge on daddy

During the pandemic, customers spent record amounts on holidays and other special events. And this was not just confined to vacations or events such as Halloween or the winter holidays. This past year, in the very start of the shutdowns, consumers expected to spend more than ever on presents for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. For many, sending gifts or intending virtual parties were a way to bring some pleasure to loved ones who couldn’t collect in person or to recover a sense of normalcy regardless of the hardships of this pandemic.

A year later, that momentum has continued as constraints have lifted and customers can go back to a semblance of normalcy: 80 percent of shoppers say that celebrating Father’s Day this year is significant to them given the current state of this pandemic. And as you can not put a price tag on time with daddy, customers are also looking to spend more on things like clothing, gift cards and electronic equipment.

Consumers are looking forward to taking daddy out again

With vaccination rates climbing and restrictions on parties and dining outside lifting, consumers are in a different mindset than they were a month ago when they celebrated Mother’s Day. And it shows in the revived interest in traditional Father’s Day dinners, brunches and other out-of-the house activities.

In actuality, those planning to present a special outing for Father’s Day are back up to pre-pandemic amounts this year.

In comparison with 2020, those aged 25 to 34 watched the largest rebound concerning gifting daddy a special outing this season.

Consumers want to pick out presents online and in shops

It is not just how consumers are observing that differs from last year, but also where they’re shopping. Over the last year, consumers have become increasingly familiar with turning to electronic channels to buy everything from groceries to furniture to work out gear. Even as matters reopen, shoppers will probably continue to rely on the convenience that purchasing online frequently reflects.

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However, there’s continued interest in purchasing in stores. In actuality, while the percentage of those planning to search for Father’s Day presents online is over pre-pandemic levels, it’s still down from last year. It turns out customers want choice concerning where they shop. And, when given the choice, many are anticipating shopping in-house in department stores, specialty stores and smaller businesses.