November is looking to be a crucial month for the economy and pandemic as the government scrambles to prevent the cancellation of Christmas.
Oh dear, I’ve said the C word. No… I mean Christmas. Now November is looming this is inevitably going to come to the forefront of everyone’s minds. Boris Johnson has mentioned it a few times – the hope that the powers-that-be won’t be forced to separate families for the highly family-centric holiday. It’s no doubt going to become a theme as November chunters along.
With cases soaring and panic over health services’ ability to manage rising critical care needs it is a solid forecast to suggest some national measures over and above our now complex set of rules across four nations. It is already happening in France, Italy and Spain, which have generally been a couple of weeks ahead of the UK in terms of reaction to events.
The government is not making a good fist of things as it stands, with muddled schemes, restrictions and responses to all manner of crises. Add to that ongoing wrangling over a Brexit deal and the situation is adverse, to say the least.
With the onset of the festive season comes the ramping up of the most important two months of consumer activity for most of the year, and if November and December are anything like the preceding 10 months, things are certainly going to be interesting. Having everyone locked down again certainly won’t be helpful to observers willing a positive festive period for retailers to improve the economic outlook.
Rishi Sunak’s new, less generous, Job Support Scheme begins on 1 November. While Sunak’s new scheme partially removes the cliff edge of the end of the original furlough scheme, it is still less generous, and likely that the first day of the month will be a jobs bloodbath nonetheless.
In non-UK events, but nevertheless of note for the investing crowd, is China’s Singles Day on 11 November. Singles Day is a retail discounting day to rival Amazon Prime Day or even Black Friday. In fact, it’s much bigger than either. In 2019 Alibaba alone reported a staggering 268.4 billion yuan ($38.4 billion) in sales in one day.
This year it will make for a good barometer of the health of China’s economy which has seemingly bounced back like no other nation. Although with fresh outbreaks of Coronavirus in regions such as Xinjiang, the jury is still out as to whether it could be knocked off its perch as the biggest retail day in the world.
On 12 November is the first quarterly estimate of GDP for Q3. The direction of travel is already known thanks to the monthly figures but this will give a more accurate picture of what the UK economy was doing between July-September, the months when restrictions were fewest since the pandemic began.
On 27 November is Black Friday, the now hallowed retail day that typically sees shoppers flock to the high street in search of a pre-Christmas deal. Although shops are still open (at the time of writing, and excepting Wales where non-essential shopping is currently banned) it’s quite likely that footfall in most places will be demurred in favour of more online shopping.
This is followed by Cyber Monday on 30 November, but one rather expects it’s all going to be cyber this month. Finally, don’t forget that the whole month of November is again dedicated to raising awareness of men’s health issues with the annual Movember month.
Personally I can’t wait to see a panoply of listless handlebars, soup strainers and pencil moustaches on the daily company Zoom call!
All the best from MRM and Capital City Media.