Forecasting Halloween During a Pandemic

Forecasting Halloween During a Pandemic

September 20, 2020

Tricky forecasting leaves chocolate companies wondering how candy sales will fare this Halloween.

Mars’ time horizon for planning for the Halloween season spans two years, yet no one could have known how different things would be this year because the pandemic.  For Hershey, Halloween spending comprises ten percent of annual sales.

No one is sure right now if “self-consumption,” when people buy Halloween candy to eat themselves rather than to distribute to others, will be enough to fill the gap of sales lost from trick-or-treating.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Fortune article reposted to Yahoo Finance, How scary will a COVID-19 Halloween be for candy companies?, by Beth Kowitt, August 29, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock / Sandy Morelli

Discussion Questions:

1.   What role does aggregate planning play in the current availability of candy for Halloween of 2020?

Guidance: Many companies have a long planning horizon.  In part this may be to ensure adequate supplies of materials and resources when it comes time to manufacture product to meet demand. In addition, manufacturers need to Continue reading

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Swimming Pool Shortage Stymies Aggregate Planners

Swimming Pool Shortage Stymies Aggregate Planners

August 19, 2020

Those looking for an above ground pool to keep the family swimming during the pandemic may be left high and dry till at least March of 2021.

Companies like Doughboy, whose above ground pools retail for between $5,000 to $19,000, faced production stoppages and materials shortages during the early months of the COVID-19 lockdown.  Now they are racing to keep up as more Americans than ever want the convenience of a backyard pool to stay cool and entertain the kids, and retailers have waitlists that stretch till spring of 2020.

Outdoor patio furniture companies have faced similar challenges.


Video Spotlight: Pool Shortage  (June 16, 2020, WCIA News)


This post is based on the Fox Business article, Swimming pool buyers beached by back orders through 2021, by Jeanette Settembre, August 1, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Ingram Publishing/SuperStock

Discussion Questions:

1.   In forecasting terms, what type of variation does the COVID-19 pandemic represent?

Guidance: No one could have envisioned the COVID-19 pandemic that hit in early 2020 or the lockdown that would follow.  As such, these are called “irregular variations” in time series analysis forecasting, Irregular variations Continue reading

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Will Beauty Bounce Back?

Will Beauty Bounce Back?

May 29, 2020

Will beauty bounce back?  In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, many people are not spending as much time or money on some of the daily routines like shaving, hair styling, or elaborate makeup.

Many beauty purchases revolve around going out and socializing, which the current crisis has curtailed.  Forecasting for the beauty industry in the upcoming months may prove challenging, as so much remains up in the air.


Video Spotlight: Huda Kattan: Coronavirus has fundamentally changed the beauty and blogging businesses (Apr 24, 2020, Yahoo Finance)


This post is based on the CNN article, Our grooming habits are changing, by Fiona Sinclair Scott, May 6, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Plush Studios/Blend Images LLC

Discussion Questions:

1. What changes in demand have the beauty industry experienced in recent months?

Guidance: Sales of some beauty products are down, including color cosmetics, fragrance, and lipstick, as women spend more time at home, and public mask-wearing becomes commonplace.  At the same time, sales of eye makeup on retail sites is up, with Alibaba reporting 150% increase in mid-February.  Since the eyes are the most visible facial feature Continue reading

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