Latest insights

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Macro 

Where is the South African COVID-19 variant spreading?  

UBS Evidence Lab tracks the spread of COVID-19 strains around the world, including the Brazil, South Africa, and UK variants.

  • These variants are reportedly more infectious than other strains.
  • The South African variant has been spreading rapidly in some parts of the world and is now among the most common in some areas.
  • It accounts for the highest percentage of cases in countries such as Austria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

South African Variant's Estimated Share of Active Cases

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Nextstrain.org; data as of March 29, 2021. Note: Chart shows the 4-week moving average.

Do US consumers think it will become easier or more difficult to find a new job over the next 6 months? (Indexed*)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab; data as of March 27, 2021. * Diffusion index calculated using a standard methodology of responses: 100 x (0.75 x "Much Easier") + (0.50 x "Stay the Same") + (0.25 x "More Difficult")

Macro 

How confident are US job seekers?  

UBS Evidence Lab leverages a survey of 5-10K US consumers per week on COVID-19-related issues.

  • In March, confidence in the prospects for finding a job was the highest in survey data going back to February 2020.
  • The previous peak in confidence was in late September 2020. 

Macro 

How are different age groups responding to reopening?  

UBS Evidence Lab asked 1,000 US consumers how they intend to change their spending post-pandemic. The responses can be broken down by age group, income, region, and state.

  • Younger and older consumers lead the increase in vacation and travel spending.
  • Middle-aged consumers will generally increase spending on housing-related items.

Intended Increase in Spend Post-Pandemic by Age Group (Indexed)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab; survey fielded on 2-4 March 2021

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Inventory of Single-Family Homes vs. Apartments in New York City CBSA* (Y/Y Change)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab; data as of 29 January 2021. * CBSA refers to Core-Based Statistical Areas defined by the US Office of Management and Budget.

Real Estate 

Looking for an apartment in New York?  

UBS Evidence Lab’s US Housing Monitor shows trends in various metrics at the metro area, state, and national levels.

  • In the New York metro area, inventories of single-family homes remain down, while apartment inventories are up 26% y/y.
  • New York metro median prices in both categories fell year-over-year after the COVID-19 outbreak, but single-family home price growth has since accelerated to 10% y/y.
  • Other metrics include days on market, exits, discounts, price cohorts, etc.

TMT 

Where are companies increasing investment in 5G?  

UBS Evidence Lab surveys over 100 senior managers of mobile operators around the world each year. The latest wave was conducted in December 2020.

  • North American mobile operators are ahead of other regions in terms of 5G investment plans for the next 2 years.
  • In 2018, APAC operators had the greatest intention to increase 5G spending. Now, they fall in the middle.
  • European operators saw a notable decrease in 5G investment plans between the 2019 and 2020 survey waves.

Impact of 5G on Capex Spending Intention in Next 2 Years (Respondents’ Answers in 2018-20 Survey Waves)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab. * Diffusion Index calculated using a standard methodology of responses: 100 x (1 x ‘Significantly increase') + (0.75 x ‘Somewhat increase’) + (0.50 x ‘No change’) + (0.25 x 'Somewhat decrease') + (0 x ‘Significantly decrease'). Note: Data as of 15 December 2020.

Net Sentiment* of Vaccine News

Source: UBS Evidence Lab; data as of January 14, 2021. *Net Sentiment is defined as the number of positive mentions in news articles less negative mentions.

Macro 

How is sentiment on COVID-19 vaccines trending?  

UBS Evidence Lab's Deep Theme Explorer shows that sentiment on COVID-19 vaccines in the news became significantly more positive in November, when Pfizer and Moderna announced they had developed vaccines that were over 90% effective.

  • As the vaccine roll-out started, sentiment became less positive in December and even turned negative for Pfizer and Moderna in January.
  • The Deep Theme Explorer uses natural-language processing to identify terms in the news related to a given theme and determine whether those terms are mentioned in a positive or negative context. It then uses this data to calculate an overall net sentiment score for the theme.

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Consumer

How likely are Prime members to renew their membership in the US?   

UBS Evidence Lab surveys 2.5K US consumers each year on their online vs. offline shopping behavior and preferences. The latest wave took place in August to September 2020.

  • The percentage of Prime members who are “extremely likely” to renew their membership increased by 4ppt y/y from 2019 to 2020. 
  • The percentage who are “somewhat unlikely” or “extremely unlikely” to renew dropped by 2ppt and 1ppt, respectively.
 

Likelihood of Renewing Amazon Prime Membership (% of US Respondents)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab. Note: Sample includes Amazon Prime members.

Investment Priorities Ranking (% Spread of Respondents)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab. Note: Survey asked executives to rank 10 potential priorities.

Macro 

What are companies' investment priorities?  

UBS Evidence Lab surveyed 675 senior executives in Europe. The latest wave of the quarterly survey was fielded in November-December 2020. 

  • Over 60% of respondents chose upgrading equipment and machinery among their top priorities.
  • R&D and corporate responsibility were also ranked as high priorities, particularly in relation to staff training and development.
  • Automation, robotics and digitization ranked close to last for ~50% of respondents.

TMT

How did time spent on each social media platform change over the course of 2020 in the US?   

UBS Evidence Lab surveys approximately 2,000 US consumers on usage, attitude, brand equity, customer experience, and brand loyalty with regard to internet and social media activities.

  • Most platforms saw small decreases (<8ppt) in weekly and monthly users between April 2020 and November 2020, but a few saw small gains.
  • The percentage of respondents using TikTok 1+ days a week and 1+ days a month increased by 3ppt and 4ppt, respectively.
  • Pinterest's (PINS.N) weekly users grew by 1ppt.
 

How frequently do you use the following social media platforms? (% of US respondents)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab. Note: Data as of November 2020; sample is unweighted.

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Share of Daily Active Users Per Week Among China eCommerce Apps (iOS + Google Play)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, QuestMobile. Note: Data as of 15 November 2020.

Consumer 

China eCommerce: Which apps stood out on Singles' Day?  

Leading eCommerce apps in China gained share of daily active users during the 2020 Singles' Day* season. 

  • Taobao's share increased from 38% during the 2019 season to 44% in 2020.
  • Pinduoduo's share increased from 20% to 33%.
  • JD's share increased from 7% to 10%.

UBS Evidence Lab also has data on time spent per active user, download ranking, and download share for thousands of mobile apps in China. 

*Singles' Day (November 11) is an unofficial holiday in China during which many single people buy themselves gifts and participate in various events.


Healthcare 

US health benefits: Are premiums rising due to COVID-19?  

UBS Evidence Lab surveyed 225 US employers in October on expected health plan and pharmacy benefit management trends for 2021.

  • Despite concerns earlier this year that premiums would rise significantly due to COVID-19, employers expect only 3% premium growth in 2021 — the same rate they expected in 2020.
  • Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs are expected to grow a modest 1%, less than employers projected last year.

Expected Change in Premiums and Deductibles/Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Source: UBS Evidence Lab. Note: Survey fielded in October 2020.

Agreement with Statements Regarding Family (% of Respondents Who Chose “Completely Agree” or “Mostly Agree”)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Consumer

How will women change spending trends in China?   

In October 2020, UBS Evidence Lab surveyed 1,000 female consumers in China.

  • The majority of respondents said they were key decision-makers for household consumption or investment. 
  • More women in Tier 3/4 cities are in charge of household spending than in Tier 1/2.
 

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Consumer  

How worried are US consumers about the latest wave of COVID-19? 

42% of survey respondents are more concerned about COVID-19 than they were a week earlier, down from ~50% the previous week. However, the percentage who are less concerned has fallen to 10% – a level last seen in early July.

  • UBS Evidence Lab leverages data from an online survey of 5-10K US consumers per week on COVID-19-related issues. The survey collects an average of 5 million responses per day to ~1,200 questions via partnerships with thousands of websites.
  • Topics include employment situation, spending, travel plans, shopping habits, concern over the spread of COVID-19, and more.

Concern over COVID-19 vs. a Week Ago (% of Respondents)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Civic Science. Note: Question asked was "Compared to a week ago, are you more or less concerned about the spread of the coronavirus?"

Implied Probability of Winning Majority in US Senate

Source: UBS Evidence Lab. Note: Chart shows implied probability based on betting odds at leading bookmakers.

Macro   

Which party do bookmakers favor to win the US Senate?  

According to implied probabilities from the betting markets, Democrats have a 62% chance of winning a majority in the US Senate vs. 34% for Republicans. The gap has widened significantly since mid-September.

  • UBS Evidence Lab looks at the likelihood of different political outcomes according to prediction markets, such as bookmakers and betting exchanges.
  • This dataset includes over 20 other political events, including the US presidential election (both nationally and in swing states), the House of Representatives contest, and competitive Senate races.
  • Note that the sum of implied probabilities of different outcomes often exceeds 100%, as bookmakers and exchanges charge a premium for placing bets.

Disclaimer: The implied probabilities presented in this analysis reflect the betting odds as set by bookmakers and betting exchanges and do not reflect the views of UBS or UBS Evidence Lab.


Mobility  

Which types of activity have recovered most in Germany? 

In Germany, dining out in July and August was higher than it had been a year earlier, though it has recently fallen to more normal levels. Foot traffic to workplaces and use of public transit remain well below pre-pandemic levels.

  • UBS Evidence Lab's COVID-19 Activity Monitor combines various measures of mobility and consumer activity, including traffic congestion, public transit, dining out, and foot traffic to places such as retailers, parks, and workplaces.
  • The data covers 50+ countries and regions, 400+ cities, and all 50 US states and is updated weekly.

Germany Mobility and Activity Trends

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Google LLC "Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports" https://www.google.com/covid19/mobility/ Accessed: September 30, 2020, Moovit at https://moovit.com, OpenTable. Note: Foot traffic is indexed to median value for that day of the week from Jan 3 -Feb 6, 2020 and is a 7-day rolling average; public transit mobility is the ratio of the last 7 days of usage of Moovit app vs. usage from Jan 9 - Jan 15, 2020; dining-out index reflects calendar-adjusted y/y change in number of seated diners, with no change equal to 100.

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Which Style Will Perform Better Between Now and the End of 2020? (Percentage of Respondents)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Financials   

What do investors think will drive performance?  

In terms of style, investors generally believe growth will outperform value, with 50% of survey respondents citing the former vs. 38% for the latter. 12% said they did not know.

  • UBS Evidence Lab surveyed 683 institutional investors around the world in August on their outlook for the rest of this year and 2021. The survey covered multiple equity and fixed-income markets.
  • Topics included which styles will outperform, what key factors will drive performance, where bond yields are headed, and more. Investors' views on various subjects can be compared with their overall outlook for markets.

Air Quality  

How have wildfires in the US affected air quality? 

Fires in California and Oregon have prompted officials to issue evacuation orders and affected air quality from Mexico to Canada. UBS Evidence Lab measures smoke density to see which areas have been impacted the most. The Air Quality Index (AQI) for San Francisco and San Jose has reached unhealthy levels, and both cities have exceeded Shanghai in recent AQI readings. In San Francisco, the AQI is approaching levels considered "hazardous".

  • UBS Evidence Lab analyzes hourly Air Quality Index data for over 8K cities around the world. The index measures various types of air pollution, including particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
  • This data shows whether air pollution has reached unhealthy or even hazardous levels. It also has broad implications for the environment.

Smoke Density from West Coast Wildfires

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Healthcare 

Could branded biologic drugs lose share to biosimilars?  

In terms of efficacy and safety, ~60% of physicians view biosimilars as equivalent to branded biologics, according to UBS Evidence Lab's recent survey. 80% do not believe biosimilars should be subject to pharmacy interchangeability.

  • UBS Evidence Lab surveyed physicians on their use of biosimilars, which are off-patent versions of branded biologics (large-molecule drugs that are expensive and complex to manufacture).
  • Pharmacy interchangeability is the ability of drug stores (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) to substitute biologics for a generic biosimilar.

Percentage of Physicians Agreeing with Statements on Biosimilars

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

US Education App iPhone Download Rankings (All Categories)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Sensor Tower

Technology 

Which are the most popular online education apps in the US? 

Among all app categories, Google Classroom's download ranking has risen sharply year-over-year, from #224 in August 2019 to #51 in August 2020. Remind: School Communication remains the top-ranked education app, consistent with one year ago.

  • UBS Evidence Lab looks at app download share and rankings for thousands of mobile applications in the iOS and Google Play store across more than 50 countries/regions.
  • This data can help assess which online learning platforms are most popular over time and relative to competitors.

Travel  

Which countries have imposed the most travel restrictions? 

The US has placed restrictions on travelers from 31 countries/regions, by far the lowest number in the G20, followed by France. Italy and China are among the countries with the most restrictions. 

  • UBS Evidence Lab tracks six types of travel restrictions (medical, mobility, nationality, visa, documentation and other) on over 60,000 routes between 247 countries/regions.
  • The data includes the number and type of restrictions on travel into and out of a given country.

Number of Countries/Regions Restricted from Travel into Italy, China, France, US (as of 17-Aug-20)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, International Organization for Migration

US Median Prices and Inventory of Single-Family Homes and Apartments (Y/Y Change)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab. Note: Data as of August 1, 2020

Real Estate

How strong is the US housing market? 

Supply of single-family homes in the US remains much tighter than in 2019, while supply of apartments turned around in May and was up year-over-year in July. Both categories saw similar median price gains in July and August.

  • UBS Evidence Lab tracks key monthly housing data in the US, UK, and various markets in Asia.
  • Metrics include prices, days on market, discounting, inventory, exits, and other measures and can be broken down into single-family homes and apartments.

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Healthcare  

How is COVID-19 affecting US hospital investment? 

According to UBS Evidence Lab's latest survey of hospital executives, IT is the area where they are delaying capital spending the most, followed by robotic surgery. A smaller share are delaying spending on radiation oncology, while investment in patient monitors is showing an increase.

  • Every month, UBS Evidence Lab surveys 40 CEOs and CFOs of short-term acute care hospitals in the US. The latest wave was fielded on July 2-13.
  • Topics include patient volumes, COVID-19 lab testing, surgical procedures being delayed, capex plans, and more.

Percent of Hospitals Delaying/Accelerating Capex

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Public Transit Ridership in European Countries

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Moovit at https://moovit.com. Note: Public transit mobility is the ratio of the last 7 days of usage of the Moovit app vs. usage from Jan 9-Jan 15, 2020.

Transportation

How does use of public transit differ across Europe? 

In Germany, public transit ridership relative to pre-COVID-19 levels is among the highest in Europe and continues to rise. In the UK, it has steadied after increasing since April, while in Italy and France, it has fallen recently. 

  • UBS Evidence Lab looks at various measures of mobility, including public transit ridership, to gauge the recovery around the globe.
  • The public transit dataset covers 105 cities in 32 countries and regions and shows ridership levels relative to early January.

Technology

Who is winning the streaming video race? 

Peacock debuted as the No. 1 most-downloaded video app on iPads in the US, though it quickly fell in the rankings. Disney+ and Netflix remain the leaders. 

  • UBS Evidence Lab looks at app download share and rankings for thousands of mobile applications in the iOS and Google Play store across more than 50 countries/regions.
  • This data can help assess which internet TV services are most popular over time and relative to competitors.

US Internet TV App Download Rankings (iPad)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Sensor Tower

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

How soon from now would you be comfortable traveling and/or going on vacation?

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Civic Science

Consumer

Do US consumers see life getting back to normal? 

Consumers' willingness to travel/go on vacation has declined: the share who are not ready to travel for 6 months or more has exceeded 50% for the first time (53%), up from 41% 2 weeks ago.

  • UBS Evidence Lab leverages data from an online survey of 5-10K US consumers per week on COVID-19-related issues. The survey collects an average of 5 million responses per day to ~1,200 questions via partnerships with thousands of websites.
  • Topics include employment situation, spending, travel plans, shopping habits, concern over the spread of COVID-19, and more.  

Financials  

Is the US housing market recovering? 

The decline in housing inventory accelerated year-over-year in April but flattened out in May. During the same period, price growth stagnated before recovering close to pre-pandemic levels.

  • UBS Evidence Lab's housing monitor assesses the strength of the market in different regions by looking at prices, days on market, discounting, inventory, and other measures. 
  • Our datasets cover the US, UK, and various countries in APAC and include surveys of consumer housing intentions.

US Housing Inventory and Median Price (Change Y/Y)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Airlines

What does social distancing look like in the skies? See the economic impact on airlines and consumers.

If airlines maintained social distancing of 6 feet between groups of passengers, narrow-body planes would fly at only 16% of capacity vs. the ~70% needed for carriers to turn a profit. 

  • UBS Evidence Lab used computer-aided design to estimate the impact of socially distanced seating scenarios on airline load factors for narrow- and wide-body planes. 
  • These scenarios are based on actual passenger booking data showing the typical number of groups of different sizes on a flight.

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Global shipping

Is trade starting to normalize? Get the latest as we track the movement and cargo loads of over 17,000 vessels across the globe.

US exports aboard bulker ships declined sharply after China announced in August 2019 that it would stop importing US agricultural products.

  • UBS Evidence Lab uses real-time data from satellites and remote sensors to track the movements and cargo loads of more than 17,000 vessels making over 125,000 voyages a year. 
  • By looking at which ports and shipping routes are most active, we can monitor supply chains, trade, and the health of the world economy.
Global shipping routes

Top 5 Grocery Shopping Apps: Average Download Ranking in Category

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Sensor Tower. Note: The top 5 grocery shopping apps are Amazon, Walmart, Instacart, Target, and Walmart Grocery Shopping, with a 60%+ share of downloads in the online grocery category; data as of May 16, 2020

Online grocery shopping

Are consumers doing more of their grocery shopping online? 

The average download ranking of the top 5 US grocery apps rose in March and April. By mid-May, it had fallen back to around pre-pandemic levels.

  • UBS Evidence Lab tracks daily download rankings for thousands of mobile applications in the iOS and Google Play stores across more than 50 countries. 
  • Categories include grocery, ride-on-demand, streaming video, remote working, and more. 
  • These rankings show which categories and platforms are gaining or losing popularity among consumers.

US consumers 

How have consumers' spending habits changed?

Almost half of US consumers say they are using credit/debit cards more often than before the outbreak, with 32% doing so because they are ordering online/over the phone.

  • UBS Evidence Lab PulseChecks are short surveys (usually fewer than 5 questions) with a fast turnaround aimed at gauging respondents' views on timely issues. They are created, fielded and analyzed within 1-2 weeks. 
  • We run over 100 consumer surveys across 25 sectors in several countries to gauge consumer sentiment, spending intentions, brand loyalty, price positioning, and more.

Use of Credit/Debit Cards vs. Pre-COVID-19

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.

Foot Traffic to Grocery & Pharmacy Locations Relative to Base Rate (7-Day Moving Average)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Google LLC "Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports" https://www.google.com/covid19/mobility/ Accessed: June 25, 2020. Note: The baseline is the median value for the corresponding day of the week during the 5-week period Jan 3-Feb 6, 2020.

Foot traffic

What does foot traffic tell us about the recovery in different countries? 

Visits to grocery stores and pharmacies dropped sharply during the pandemic in India and Spain. In the US, visits are now back to pre-COVID-19 levels, while in Spain they are ~10% below.

  • Using Google data from mobile phones, UBS Evidence Lab shows changes in the number of people visiting various types of locations including workplaces, retail stores, recreational facilities, parks, etc. in hundreds of countries around the world.
  • We also compare this data with the store locations of hundreds of retailers to gauge their exposure to markets that are recovering or reversing.

Amusement parks 

Can the Magic Kingdom have magic without the crowds? Find out how many people it can accommodate with social distancing. 

With a social distance of 6 feet between groups, the park can hold ~28k visitors, or 50% of the average pre-pandemic level.

  • Using geospatial techniques, UBS Evidence Lab digitized the Magic Kingdom, dividing the usable area into hexagons representing individual visitors. 
  • We looked at how many of these hexagons can fit into various sections of the park under social-distancing scenarios of 4 feet, 6 feet, and 8 feet between groups.

Mobility

Which regions are seeing signs of normal activity resuming and which ones are now seeing signs of second waves?

Traffic congestion in Germany and Florida fell after a rise in COVID-19 cases. Singapore's congestion increased from nearly zero as cases declined.

  • UBS Evidence Lab's global data on auto congestion, public transit, and foot traffic provides a glimpse of mobility in over 30 countries.
  • Monitoring where people are getting out more and where they are going helps in assessing the strength of the recovery around the world.

Relative Traffic Congestion in Germany, Florida and Singapore

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, TomTom. Note: Relative Congestion is traffic congestion relative to 2019 levels and is calculated as a 7-day rolling average

As regions reopen and activity returns, see what the latest insights from UBS Evidence Lab reveal.