Companies are gearing up for an era in which Covid-19 isn’t the primary driver of how people spend their money.
The big question: As the coronavirus situation improves in countries like the United States, which trends from the past 14 months will have staying power, and which will be resigned to the pandemic past?
Airbnb, DoorDash and Disney, which reported results after US markets closed on Thursday, provide some idea.
Airbnb: The company said interest in travel is surging again as vaccines become more widely available, pointing to a sharp increase in bookings in the United Kingdom immediately after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans in February to gradually exit lockdown. For US customers aged 60 and above, searches on Airbnb for summer travel rose by more than 60% between February and March.
The company is also ready for more customers to use Airbnb for longer-term stays as they take advantage of greater acceptance of remote work. It said that nearly a quarter of stays last quarter were for 28 days or more, up 14% from 2019. Shares are down slightly in premarket trading.
DoorDash: People are still ordering lots of food delivery even as restaurants open back up for traditional dining. DoorDash reported a 198% jump in revenue last quarter to $1.1 billion even as it dealt with a shortage of workers, and increased its full-year outlook.
“As markets continued reopening and in-store dining increased across the US, the impact to our order volume was smaller than we expected, which contributed to strong performance in the quarter,” the company said, though it cautioned that may have been partially attributable to stimulus checks. Shares are up almost 9% in premarket trading.
Disney: Streaming has carried Disney through the pandemic, with Disney+ growing to more than 100 million subscribers. Yet the biggest star in Disney’s media universe appears to be shining a little less bright, sending shares down 4%.
The company said Thursday that Disney+ now has 103.6 million subscribers, below the 110 million Wall Street was expecting. That’s forced investors to wonder: Is that because people are getting vaccinated and stepping away from streaming? Netflix also reported sluggish subscription growth last quarter.
Down but not out: Disney said it remains on track to reach its long-term subscriber goals despite the apparent slowdown. It’s betting that as the pandemic eases, it will be able to produce more movies and shows, helping to bring in new customers.
Whether it’s right will become clearer in the months ahead, which will pose the true test of whether people actually ditch their sweatpants, get out of the house and shake up the economy once again.
It could get easier to get a credit card without a credit score
For years, if you didn’t have a credit score it was extremely difficult to get a credit card or certain types of loans. But a new plan among some of the nation’s largest banks may help Americans without traditional credit histories get approved.
Ten banks — including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp — have tentatively agreed to a plan to share data like bank account deposits and bill payment activity to help qualify borrowers without traditional credit histories, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The push for financial institutions to come to a data sharing agreement came from a program run by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The OCC has confirmed there is a plan, but the details of the agreement among the banks still need to be worked out.
Should the proposed arrangement go through, it would mean that if you don’t have a credit score but you have a bank account at Wells Fargo, for example, you can use that financial history to help you get a credit card with another bank, like JPMorgan Chase.
“This will give millions of Americans the opportunity to access credit that’s essential to building wealth — buying a home, starting a business, or financing education,” Trish Wexler, a spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase, told CNN Business.
The backstory: There are currently 53 million people without a credit score, according to the Fair Isaac Corporation, the creator of FICO credit scores. These consumers, who are disproportionately lower income and people of color, face higher borrowing costs because they’re forced to turn to products like payday loans.
Banks and lenders refer to those without credit history as “credit invisible.” This group can include young people or recent immigrants, as well as people who haven’t used credit in a long time or who have lost their access due to financial difficulties.
The business angle: Big banks may also be eager to revise their policies as online upstarts chip away at demand for their products.
“Some of this cooperation among the biggest banks may be a bit of reaction to smaller banks and fintech companies infringing on their space,” said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at LendingTree.
Target will temporarily stop selling trading cards amid frenzy
Target has announced that it will stop selling trading cards in its stores following a violent dispute at one of its locations — a sign of just how overheated the market for collectibles has become.
The details: Last week, a Target in Wisconsin was locked down after a man was physically assaulted by four others over sports trading cards.
“The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority,” Target said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokémon trading cards within our stores, effective [Friday].”
The cards will still be available online, the company said.
Remember: The value of trading cards has skyrocketed in recent months during the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s grabbed interest from both amateur and professional investors looking to cash in on spectacular returns.
Target previously was limiting card purchases to just one item a day, saying that guests were lining up overnight to get their hands on hot items, per CNN affiliate WISN.
Walmart, for its part, said it will keep selling cards in stores for now.
“We are determining what, if any, changes are needed to meet customer demand while ensuring a safe and enjoyable shopping experience,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Data on US retail sales, import and export prices and industrial production arrives at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Coming next week: Home Depot and Lowe’s report earnings as the housing market booms.