Intelligence

Black Friday breaks records

A new Black Friday record: This year, Black Friday online and in-store sales figures hit $7.2 billion, doubling compared to last year, according to USA Today. More than 50 percent of the purchases were done via mobile — an 82 percent increase from 2018. 

“Despite the evolution in consumer shopping habits, Black Friday remains an important bellwether for the holiday season,” said Devin McGranahan, executive vice president and senior group president at Fiserv. “In 2019, consumers showed their willingness to travel for a good deal and blended their physical shopping with digital payments via mobile wallets.”

It also speaks volumes of consumer sentiment. The shopping frenzy points towards a positive perception of the economy, a hot-button issue for Americans as the country gears up for next year’s presidential race.

Poor rich millennials: Despite making up nearly a quarter of the population, millennials own a mere 3 percent of the country’s wealth, according to the Survey of Consumer Finance published in CBS News. And while plenty of Millennials are getting a kick out of the “OK Boomer” meme, the older generation may get the last laugh. When Boomers were the age of current Millennials, the demographic controlled 21 percent of the country’s wealth — plus, are responsible for one in every five home purchases made.

“Collectively, parents of adult children are spending twice as much on their kids as they are saving for own retirement,” writes CBS.

OK, Boomers. You win this one.

Big business for Schwab & TD: Investment News reports Charles Schwab Corp.’s acquisition of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. has sparked a flurry of questions in the registered investment adviser community. The biggest one? Whether having 50-70 percent of the RIA industry’s custody business under one entity is good for individual RIA firms, their clients and the industry as a whole.

Amazon goes old-school for Cyber Monday: According to Bloomberg, Amazon is all set for Cyber Monday but the tech giant is turning to simplicity for success. This year, Amazon is testing cheap warehouses to help meet holiday demand and its next-day shipping pledge.

“The new service, Amazon Storage and Replenishment, lets its merchants stage inventory close to Amazon’s delivery operation so products can be quickly replenished, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. Amazon is trying out the program in Ontario, California, about 20 miles from its closest facilities and has plans to expand the program to other locations around the country, according to the documents.”

A digital yuan: After the People’s Bank of China announced its plans to create a centralized the world’s first central-bank-directed digital currency, CBDC. Many western commentators in response feared CBDC would “internationalize” the yuan and perhaps allow it to gain global dominance over the dollar. But our chief economist isn’t buying the hype — see why in our latest blog post.