It’s hard to imagine where it will end. Retailers like Apple, Nike and Warby Parker are shuttering their doors to stem the spread of Coronavirus; Amazon’s “Prime” promise of 2-day delivery is laughable on a good day with the company being barraged with orders (and trying to hire 100,000 workers to help); and retailer Patagonia is going one step further by closing their online store until the virus abates. While China’s manufacturing bounces back to life after experiencing significant drops in new Coronavirus cases, with much of the world months behind or more on the virus curve, the question remains whether there will even be orders to fill. It’s all spiraling into what some economists believe could lead to a global recession or worse following the complete financial market meltdown that continues to heat up.
In these challenging times, it is our responsibility as an industry to hope and work for the best while preparing for the worst. And the worst right now is Italy. The best – by virtue of having emerged from their outbreak - is China. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on a few key points we’re seeing in both of these markets related to impact that may be headed to the U.S., as well as what recovery may look like.