First off, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and tell you how excited I am to be a part of Nationwide Marketing Group’s Furniture & Bedding Division. I have been fortunate to be a part of this industry for almost 20 years now. Throughout that time, I have developed business and personal relationships that will last a lifetime. The most enjoyable part of my career has been spent working hand in hand with entrepreneurs in this crazy retail world.
I know that 2020 was a challenging year to say the least, but I wanted to share some of the things that I am optimistic about.
A Vaccine. The speed of vaccination development worldwide has been unprecedented, offering hope for future developments to move just as quickly in order to save lives. The two current COVID-19 vaccinations reportedly have a success rate of about 90%. To put this in perspective a good flu vaccine protects about half of the population. To have two vaccines with such high reported success rates is a testament to the intentionality of organizations with the greater good in mind. While it will take time for the masses to be vaccinated, optimism is abound reflected in NYSE records being broken and increased consumer confidence.
Stability. The recent Presidential election demonstrated just how polarizing opinions are in this country regarding COVID-19 and many other key campaign points. The ongoing unrest felt between the governing bodies and the general population has continued to slow a unified response to COVID-19 and an economic recovery. Regardless of who you supported in the election, the transition of power has begun with the President Elect choosing many heads of division in recent days. 2021 being underway the struggle for power has ceased clarifying the direction planned for economic growth over the next four years. At the time of this writing the second round of an economic stimulus package was underway giving much needed relief to individuals, families, and small businesses. I expect the new administration to pursue further aid if needed in the coming months.
Real Estate Market. The Furniture and Bedding industry has historically been transacted around “life changing” moments. Getting married, selling or buying a home, having children, getting divorced, etc. This fact will not change, but the industry has been positively impacted by COVID-19 with consumers spending more of their disposable income on products for the home. This has created pent up demand that I see lasting into the new year. On top of this, the real estate market continues to improve. Sales of existing homes and new starts (new home construction) consistently improves month over month. This is accelerated by interest rates continuing to stay at historic lows. These real estate transactions will continue to provide opportunities for consumers to look to you, the independent retailer, to provide the products needed for their new homes.
Let me close by commending all of you on the resolve that you have showed throughout 2020. It was a year that has challenged us in all aspects of our lives. It forced us to do things differently in our businesses and our homes. Even with these challenges you continued to not only survive but thrive. In retrospect, 2020 brought many good things. Personally, I had the pleasure of spending more time with my family this year than in the last 10 years combined. We were able to sell a house faster than we ever imagined and for over our asking price, and we moved into our forever home. It brought me the opportunity to work for an organization that values community, it’s employees and our members more than any company I have ever been a part of. I want to wish you all success in your home and business lives in 2021.
Mike Derro is the Vice President of Furniture & Bedding for Nationwide Marketing Group