When it comes to celebrating birthdays everyone has their own traditions. For most, those traditions normally come with a cake, candles, and (if you’re extra nice all year) surrounded by those who love you. But, if you’ve had a birthday within the past few weeks, I’m sure you’ve noticed your guest count has dwindled despite your best efforts! The culprit? COVID-19.
Sorry Pisces and Aries babies! It’s not you — it’s COVID.
COVID-19 has put a serious stop on celebrating birthdays and while I know the importance of social distancing, explaining that to my six year old was like telling him the world had ended.
Leo, the forever dog lover, had been looking forward to our dog Cosmo’s birthday all year, and we even had a trip planned to Seattle in order to celebrate their first birthday together. Most of you have probably heard me talk about Cosmo before, she’s one of the sibling puppies my family and I bought last June. Click here to see the full story. But, given the circumstances that obviously was put on hold.
This is just one example of how consumer behavior has drastically changed — and conversely, the impact on business, and therefore the stock market. While having an $1500 in my pocket that would have gone to Alaska Airlines (ALK) is nice, but I’m not the only one cancelling plans — and it’s showing drastically in the transportation sector, airliners, and oil prices. ALK stock has gone from $70 in February to $29.23, which was the lowest price it’s been since 2012, after the housing market crash.
However, even though our plans had to be changed, their birthdays still had to be honored, but how? Leave it to Leo to come up with a genius plan. It’s not like family time is over, for good!
Celebrating — Coronavirus Style
Leo has been out of school for sometime now, and with the announcement of Austin’s schools closing for the rest of the year, I had to get creative with how he spends his time at home. The single thing I’ve found most successful in keeping his attention are Skype (MSFT) and Zoom (ZM). On a normal day he’ll call countless of family members and keep them on the line for as long as he can get away with (he definitely inherited the gift of gab from his mother ha ha). But a day before the dog’s birthday he had a stroke of genius: why don’t we celebrate the dog’s birthdays virtually?
I know I may be alone, planning a dog’s online birthday party (ha ha, remember, I’m desperately trying to keep my 6 year old entertained), but I know I’m not alone in my extreme usage of Skype and Zoom as of late. That shift in consumer behavior is showing up as big momentum in the stock market.
Then the fun really began. Leo took it upon himself to create a guest list, calling each one in order — handing out verbal invitations left and right. With a little help from my brother to set up the conference, we were off to the races.
As you can see, Leo’s puppy party was a huge success despite our initial obstacles. We all had a great time catching up, and ended up talking for quite a while (so long that some six year old got to stay up past his bedtime — a side effect that made him quite happy).
This got me thinking: the reality of COVID-19 is very unknown. We don’t know when this will end, with some even predicting it could come back as a seasonal virus. So will this pandemic change the way we celebrate birthdays forever?
Amazon (AMZN) has already had to hire an additional 175,000 employees, just to meet the demand, and the stock price has skyrocketed. Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT) were ahead of the game, by already offering curbside pickup options before COVID-19, but now politicians are ordering all retailers to add this option as well. Governor Abbott of Texas stated just last week additional retailers can reopen this Friday, but they must provide curbside pickup.
Number one: this means consumer behavior is going to continue to change. Number two: it means companies that can go with change, instead of against it, will continue to thrive. We’ve seen online shopping companies thrive throughout this time, along with those already suited to meet the demands of the pandemic. Companies like JD.com (JD) and Alibaba (BABA) in China, Shopify (SHOP), Zoetis (ZTS), and Dominoes (DPZ), along with the retailers already listed above, are rocketing higher.
All of this volatility has meant lots of potential trades. My friend, mentor, and VP of Simpler Trading, Henry Gambell is an expert at trading volatile times like these.
Nonetheless, new traditions will be made, but we still need cake — and we’re still going to buy presents and decorations (but they may be delivered to our doors instead of selected after wandering through Target).
I would be willing to bet that when this is all over people will reconvene and share cake with one another as soon as they can. As humans, it’s in our blood to be social and nothing can permanently change the person-to-person interaction we all crave. However, I do think some of the pandemic’s side effects are here to stay.
And, have you noticed that pet stocks are flying? I guess I’m not the only one obsessed with my dogs. Pet shelters are empty as people crave companionship during what have been incredibly lonely times. This also means pet stocks, like Chewy (CHWY), Pets.com (PETS) and my favorite dog food, FreshPet (FRPT) are flying as well.
Though my family had a plan to fly out and be together as a family this year, it’s not like this is something I would do every year. Before, I never would’ve thought of setting up a group Skype conference call. I would’ve probably sent a text with a funny picture of Cosmo and left it at that. But, we realized how much we love that family interaction, and how easy (and cheap it is, sorry Alaska Airlines)! This is something we’ll be doing far more frequently, even after the pandemic wanes. Austin to Seattle seems like quite the distance, but with technology, it doesn’t seem so far at all. And Microsoft (MSFT) and Zoom (ZM) have quite the demand to continue improving these services that will undoubtedly continue to improve — and will be here for the long haul.
You know what else will be here for the long haul? Volatility. And you know who loves trading it, just as much, if not more, than I do? My friend, mentor, and VP of Simpler Trading, Henry Gambell. He’s having a webinar called the ‘Volatility Income Playbook’ this Wednesday at 7pm CT. Make sure you check it out, because I am absolutely going to be there. Click on the link HERE to sign up!
As for me, I was born in August, so only time will tell if my birthday will suffer the same fate.