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How the Omicron Variant Threatens the Supply Chain

the Omicron variant threatens the supply chain

THE DAILY SCOPE, 11/29/2021: The post-Thanksgiving stupor is beginning to wear off and it’s time to get back to the real world. While the entire country was busy eating turkey and mashed potatoes, a new variant of coronavirus was discovered in South Africa. In reaction to the Omicron variant, some countries such as Japan, Israel, and Morocco have closed borders and imposed travel restrictions in a move reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic. Concerns about this highly mutated version of the virus also caused the stock market, on ‘Black Friday,’ to dip to its lowest point of 2021, as investors worry about how this new variant will affect the economy. In response to these challenges, President Joe Biden announced today that he plans to meet with the CEOs of Best BuySamsung North America, CVS, and Walmart to discuss how to keep products reaching shelves in the face of challenges presented by the Omicron variant on the already stressed supply chain infrastructure.

In other ‘Black Friday’ news, the Adobe Digital Economy Index has reported that consumers spent $8.9 billion across e-commerce platforms, which is down on a year-over-year basis compared to the $9 billion spent online during the 2020 ‘Black Friday’ event. This is the very first time that online consumer spending on ‘Black Friday’ did not increase compared to the previous year. Global supply chain issues have encouraged retailers to broaden the scope of their annual holiday deals with some starting promotions as early as October. As a result, consumers have been doing their shopping earlier, which has been good for retailers that are trying to keep up with demand, but bad for overall ‘Black Friday’ spending statistics. From the CE sector, sales of video games and appliances are up 648% and 617%, respectively, in comparison to the pre-holiday levels of September. It will be interesting to see if ‘Cyber Monday’ trends reflect the same year-over-year decrease in online consumer spending as ‘Black Friday.’

Finally, the frontier of advertising is expanding to… the metaverse. Yep, you read that correctly, companies from across all retail industries are starting to see metaverse-like worlds as legitimate platforms for building brand recognition. Companies including VerizonChipotle, and Vans are just the first to create digital worlds on metaverse platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite Creative. This trend is only likely to accelerate the arrival of other large brands as the metaverse concept becomes more mainstream. Meta Platforms Inc. formerly known as Facebook made a big splash earlier this Fall by announcing that it has invested $10 billion into creating its own metaverse.

For clarification, the metaverse is a term used to describe 3D online worlds that allow people to communicate via avatars in real time (if you’re thinking this is anything like the massively multiplayer online games that have existed for decades, you’d be right). Companies looking to advertise on these platforms are hoping to reach consumers within the 13-35 age demographic.

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