Portfolio manager Aneta Wynimko, manager of the Fidelity Global Consumer Industries Fund, analyzes the impact of COVID-19 on consumer spending and which segments have been affected the most by ongoing economic uncertainty. Aneta believes the U.S. consumer is the key driver of the global economy. Before the pandemic, half of the consumption of food was happening out of home, but it has now been brought back inside. We also saw a 33% savings rate at the peak – something that hasn’t happened since the 1950s. However, as travel becomes less risky, people are starting to venture out again, so it’s interesting to see all the different things happening. Aneta also believes the consumer plays a large role in the ESG trend, particularly given an increasing preference for “conscious consumption.” The move toward wellness and more broadly conscious lifestyles has become quite entrenched. Aneta notes that this is especially the case in the younger demographic, who are choosing brands that are “doing the right thing.” Generation Z tends to think more about a circular economy of reusing and reselling, as opposed to throwing things away.
Recorded on August 7, 2020.