Chain of Indicators

Have you ever seen a Rube Goldberg machine?

The marble rolls down the slope, and knocks down the dominos, which pushes the trolley, which lights the candle, which burns the string, which releases the pulley, which swings the hammer, which hits the bowling ball, which starts the stove, which fries the egg, which… You get the idea!

In the same way, COVID-19 isn’t having a direct effect on a lot of aspects of the economy. But it is the catalyst in a chain of events that are having real impacts on all aspects of the economy.

This is something I showed a client recently – the Chain of Economic Indicators that predict outcomes in his market right now.

“Knowing this helps me to see really clearly exactly where we are in the market, and how all the factors fit together.”

So let me show it to you now, through the lens of the real estate industry (where quite a few of my clients work).

Infections influence…

Restrictions, which influence…
Employment / jobs figures, which influences…
The Economy (both in real terms, and in terms of perception/economic sentiment), which influences…
Supply and demand for real estate, which influences…
Property prices.

With this in mind, we can predict what will happen before property prices will rise.

Infections will be down, and restrictions will ease. Employment will rise, and the economy will improve. And supply and demand for real estate will rise, which will stimulate prices.

You can apply the same logic to other aspects of the economy…

Infections influence restrictions and sentiment. Restrictions and sentiment influence workplaces. Workplaces are more likely to work remotely…
…So your favourite cafe in the central business district is likely to struggle until workplaces go back to the office.
…OR collaboration is going to be an ongoing issue.
…OR people are less likely to commute, meaning fuel prices will remain low.

Try it for your own industry, to see how Infections flow through Restrictions to affect all of the little levers affecting people’s decision-making, and purchasing behaviours. You might be surprised at what you can predict.

This gives us three helpful tools.

For businesses that need to TIME THE MARKET – it gives you the “early warning signs” that are likely to predict an upturn in the industry that you care about.

For businesses that need to make STRATEGIC LONG-TERM DECISIONS – it gives you a way of predicting the future, and the flow-on effects that an easing of restrictions will have through each little flow-on effect.

And for businesses that are MARKETING products and services – it helps you to identify both the right timing of offers, and predict the effectiveness of each offer, by assessing whether the market is ready for the offer yet.