EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 24, Monday, February 22, 2021

By William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit to the change it has gone through to achieve that beauty”, Maya Angelo. Compliments of Catharine Monson, CEO, FASTSIGNS

“The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well”,

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are too small.”, Richard Branson

““Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”, Mark Twain


Our biweekly newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment and travel.  

Highlights in issue #24:

  • CEO business confidence on the rise in two surveys
  • Australia, Japan and New Zealand begin to vaccinate citizens
  • The future of work after COVID-19 – a major McKinsey report
  • Pizza’s popularity has proven itself to be pandemic-proof and growing while restaurants in general continue to suffer during the crisis.
  • US Consumers went on an Unexpected Rampage in January
  • US Restaurant Customers Showing Signs Of Pandemic Fatigue
  • Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines have fully vaccinated air crews

We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.

Please feel free to send us your input and sources of information. Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.

First, a few Personal Comments

This issue has numerous updates on vaccines and travel around the world. Plus, some interesting executive confidence surveys and studies and announcements related to the future of work after COVID-19. As of today, the number of vaccine doses given to date around the world has reached 208,000,000 with the COVID-19 cases to date standing at 112,000,000. Travel new is both up and down but both airlines and travelers are planning for 3rd and 4th quarter increases. Finally, news on how some brands are innovating to meet global consumer needs and desires.

Vaccine Updates from Around the World

“Vaccines cut Covid hospital admissions by up to 94%: Edinburgh University research ‘very encouraging’. By the fourth week after the initial dose, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines reduced recipients’ chances of being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 by up to 85 per cent and 94 per cent respectively.”, The Times of London, February 22, 2021

Johnson unveils plan to end England lockdown by end of June: Prime minister announces easing of restrictions starting with reopening of schools on March 8. The prime minister’s long-awaited easing plan, published in a 60 page document on Monday, contains four stages for ending the harsh social distancing restrictions that will take place over a four-month period.”, The Financial Times, February 22, 2021

“Pfizer says it’s ramping up vaccine production: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Friday that the company was adding suppliers and expanding its manufacturing capacity to ramp up production of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.”, Axios, February 19, 2021

“The CDC says people who are fully vaccinated can skip quarantine — with caveats: According to an update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully vaccinated people will no longer be required to quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 if they meet all the criteria.”, The Points Guy, February 11, 2021

Australian PM is vaccinated as rollout begins: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has received the coronavirus vaccine as the country prepares to start inoculations this week. His jab was televised on Sunday in order to help boost confidence in the vaccine rollout across Australia. Vaccinations officially begin on Monday and at least 60,000 doses are expected to be administered next week.”, BBC News, February 20, 2021

Japan formally approves its first COVID-19 vaccine: Japan has formally approved its first COVID-19 vaccine and says it will start nationwide inoculations within days, but months behind the U.S. and many other countries. Japan’s health ministry said it had approved the vaccine co-developed and supplied by Pfizer Inc.”, ABC News, February 14, 2021

Japan vaccine supplies to be limited, delaying shots for elderly: Japan will only receive limited doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the first months of the rollout and shots for the elderly will be distributed gradually, the country’s inoculation chief said. Pfizer Inc, the maker of Japan’s only approved COVID-19 vaccine, is ramping up production in Europe, but those increased supplies are not likely to reach Japan until May, Administrative Reform Minister Taro Kono cautioned on Sunday in an interview with national broadcaster NHK.”, Reuters, February 22, 2021

“New Zealand begins COVID-19 vaccinations programme, Australia starts Monday: New Zealand started its official rollout of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, while Australia finalised plans to begin inoculations on Monday, a new phase in tackling the virus that both countries have kept largely contained.”, Reuters, February 19, 2021

“Spain betting on vaccine passports to revive summer tourism: Spain hopes the introduction of vaccination passports combined with pre-travel COVID-19 testing will allow British tourists to return to Spanish destinations this summer, a tourism ministry source told Reuters on Tuesday. The government has no plans to introduce quarantines on foreign visitors, and was also counting on a wider agreement to be hammered out between Europe and Britain to remove restrictions on non-essential travel, the official added.”, Reuters, February 16, 2021

Lifelong immunity hope for Covid-19 vaccine: Trials of coronavirus vaccines for children as young as five are set to begin within days, laying the groundwork for a childhood immunisation programme that could protect people from Covid-19 for most of their lives.”, The Times Of London, February 14,,2021

Interesting Data and Studies

“CEO confidence hits 17-year high as vaccine rollout continues: Overall, 82% of CEOs expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, up from 63% last quarter, the Conference Board reported. The percentage of CEOs expecting conditions to worsen was cut in half, dropping to 7% from 15%. Similarly, 78% of CEOs anticipate short-term prospects in their own industries to improve, up from 65% in September.”, Axios, February 19, 2021

CEO Projections 2021: Reigniting the Growth Engine: In the year ahead, an economic recovery will release pent-up demand. CEOs should consider these insights to prepare their business for the next growth cycle. CEOs report that “hiring, recruiting and sourcing” is their No. 1 decision area. Technology tops the list of planned investments for 2021. Morale is a critical challenge that CEOs must address at all levels.”, Vistage, February 21, 2021

Global and Regional Travel Updates

“What will travel look like after the pandemic?: Covid-19 has brought international travel to a standstill. But it will recover and may even become a better experience, says Simon Wright.”, The Economist. February 13, 2021

“Study Finds Most Travelers Are Rebooking Canceled Trips in 2021: More than half of travelers have rebooked or plan to rebook canceled trips in 2021, according to an IHG Hotels & Resorts survey of 6,000 people, including 2,000 Americans, conducted by OnePoll in January.”, Travel Pulse, February 9, 2021

“Three Main Latin American Carriers Reinforces Strategies to Protect Passengers: The main Latin American airlines LATAM, Avianca and Aeroméxico have announced campaigns to reinforce the safety and operational hygiene protocols offered to its passengers, all in line with the recommendations of international authorities.”, Airline Geeks, February 20, 2021

The Importance of Travel & Tourism in Driving Global Economy: Restoring international travel and tourism will be vital to enhancing social progress and driving the global economy post-pandemic, according to a new Social Impact Paper released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in collaboration with U.S.-based nonprofit Social Progress Imperative (SPI).”, Travel Pulse, February 10, 2021

European Union Travel Confidence –

Asia Pacific Traveler Confidence –

Alaska Airlines Offering VeriFLY Digital Health Passport for International Travel: Alaska Airlines passengers arriving in the U.S. will be able to streamline their required COVID-19 documents using the VeriFLY app beginning Friday, February 5, the airline announced on Thursday. The free and secure third-party app offers travelers expedited check-in and verification for their arrival to the U.S. so they can meet the latest entry requirements established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month.”, Travel Pulse, February 4, 2021

Crystal Cruises requiring COVID-19 vaccines for all passengers: On Thursday, Crystal Cruises announced its updated health and safety protocols, which require that all passengers are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before their voyage. Passengers will have to offer proof of vaccination in order to board.”, Fox News, February 20, 2021

Delta plans to block middle seats through April to give passengers ‘complete confidence’: Delta Air Lines announced Monday it would extend its commitment to blocking middle seats on flights through April…. Several U.S. airlines blocked seats for a while in the name of social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic; however, all but Delta have since abandoned the practice.”, USA Today, February 8, 2021

Etihad Airways Operates with 100% Vaccinated Crew: In an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, Etihad Airways (EY) has become the world’s first airline with all its operating pilots and cabin crew vaccinated. Through this, the United Arab Emirates’ national airline strives to give peace of mind to passengers traveling with it., Airways Magazine, February 11, 2021

Air New Zealand Will Trial Vaccine Passport System On Flights To Australia: Air New Zealand will ask its passengers to use a digital health pass on flights to Australia as a trial run for a future digital “vaccine passport” that travellers will use to confirm that they have been immunized against Covid-19, offering a possible glimpse into international travel in the post-pandemic world.”, Forbes, February 22, 2011

SAS Plans 180 European Destinations for Summer 2021: Expecting ease in travel restrictions and a healthier situation with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, SAS Scandinavian Airlines (SK) will increase capacity on all domestic routes for the coming Summer season. The new approach is to apply both to the Nordic destinations as well as to major cities in Europe. According to the airline, the new flight program is to meet an increase in demand for leisure as well as business travel assuming that travel restrictions have eased.”, Airways Magazine, February 10, 2021

Singapore Airlines Is Operating Flights With Completely Vaccinated Crews: All three airlines under the SIA Group umbrella—including Singapore, its regional carrier Silk Air, and its budget arm, Scoot—are now “among the first carriers in the world to operate flights with a full complement of vaccinated pilots and cabin crew,” according to a release from the airline.”, Condé Nest Traveler, February 11, 2021

Latin America


How Melbourne beat Covid-19 with strict lockdown and computer modelling: Jason Thompson had to endure public pressure while predicting how 1,000 scenarios would affect cases, Bernard Lagan writes. As a clinical psychologist Jason Thompson knows all about stress, and as Australia’s second largest city struggled with a venomous second wave of Covid-19 late last year he was under huge pressure. With six million people shuttered in their homes in and around Melbourne, the crippled city was relying on him to work out when they could resume their lives.”, The Times of London, February 18, 2021

Brisbane’s first online-only delivery hub opens: A warehouse in Brisbane’s south has become the city’s first hub of ‘smart kitchens’ that cater purely for online delivery services such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats. The facility in Coorparoo houses 29 kitchens, purpose-built for existing and new restaurants to cater for online food deliveries.”, Brisbane Times, February 10, 2021. This article is compliments of Jason Gehrke, Managing Director of the Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane, from their February 19, 2021 franchise newsletter.

Mainland China

China unveils plan to transform manufacturing sector with internet of things: China plans a hi-tech transformation of manufacturing to offset rising production costs and consolidate its position in global supply chains. Beijing will help modernise the sector with advancements in 5G, cloud computing and IoT, the government said on Thursday.”, South China Morning Post, February 18, 2021. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

China set to be first country where e-commerce sales outstrip bricks-and-mortar retail in 2021: Some 52.1 per cent of China’s overall retail sales are expected to come from e-commerce transactions this year, according to research firm eMarketer The pandemic boosted online sales that were already growing at a steady clip thanks to the rapid digitalisation of traditional trade-in China, experts say.”, South China Morning Post, February 19, 2021, Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

Sky’s the Limit for China’s Record Lunar New Year Box Office Takings: The annual Lunar New Year vacation has not yet finished, but amid stories of hard-to-buy movie tickets and seats costing a third more than usual, China’s cinema sector has bounced back to record 6 billion yuan in advance sales since the holiday began on Feb 11. This includes over 1 billion yuan (US$150 million) a day for the first three days of the Year of the Ox.”, Caixing Global, February 16, 2021

China’s Gen Z consumers drive growth of domestic brands as spending power rises: This group of young consumers — born between 1996 and 2010 — accounts for 17% of China’s population but 25% of total expenditure on new brands, according to L Catterton’s latest consumer insights report on China. Unlike previous generations, China’s Gen Z cohort is notably more globally minded and enthusiastic about ‘Made in China” products, said Charlotte Chang, vice president of consumer insights at L Catterton.’”, CNBC, February 16, 2021


Is the epidemic finally coming to an end in India? Is the epidemic firmly in retreat in a country where many early modellers had predicted millions of deaths due to Covid-19? By the middle of last week, India was barely counting an average of 10,000 Covid cases every day. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths from the disease slid to below 100. More than half of India’s states were not reporting any Covid deaths. On Tuesday, Delhi, once an infection hotspot, did not record a single Covid death, for the first time in 10 months.”, BBC News, February 17, 2021


Israel’s COVID vaccination pass opens fast track to normal life: Israel reopened swathes of its economy including malls and leisure facilities on Sunday, with the government saying the start of a return to routine was enabled by COVID-19 vaccines administered to almost half the population.”, Reuters, February 20, 2021

Israel to reopen gyms, hotels to people who have been vaccinated: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will soon be able to download a certificate that would allow them to attend cultural events, fly abroad and go to gyms.”, Axios, February 20, 2021


“Japan extends economic recovery as exports, capex shake off COVID hit: Japan’s economy expanded more than expected in the fourth quarter, extending the recovery from its worst postwar recession thanks to a rebound in overseas demand that boosted exports and capital spending.”, Reuters, February 14, 2021

Japan Keeps Its Covid Fight Simple With a Rule Starting at Dinnertime: Avoiding lockdowns, Tokyo has success controlling infections with minimalist approach. In the fight to suppress Covid-19, Japan has found success by stripping down its policy to one simple measure: closing restaurants and bars at 8 p.m. The government hopes to lift the state of emergency by March 7.”, The Wall Street Journal., February 9, 2021

Like most economies across the globe, Japan’s has taken a hit from the coronavirus pandemic. The world’s third-largest economy contracted for three consecutive quarters beginning in Q4 of 2019. Its real gross domestic product shrank 4.8 percent in 2020 – the largest decrease since 2009. Still, all things considered, Japan has weathered the storm fairly well. Its unemployment rate, which has hovered around 2.5 percent for the past three years, did not rise significantly in 2020, thanks largely to employment protection subsidies.”, Geopolitical Futures, February 19, 2021


“Singapore on path to recovery as fourth-quarter GDP shrinks less than estimated: Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 2.4% year-on-year in the quarter, the ministry of trade and industry said on Monday, versus the 3.8% drop seen in the government’s advance estimate. Analysts had expected a contraction of 3.5%, according to a Reuters poll.:, Reuters, February 14, 2021

United Kingdom

“Experts predict huge fall in Covid patients: The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals in England will more than halve over the next month, according to internal government projections seen by The Times. Only one per cent of people offered a coronavirus jab have turned the chance down, according to the Office for National Statistics.”, The Times of London, February 12, 2021

British business is in surprisingly good shape: Although the economy has shrunk by a tenth in a year, companies are flush. Despite the pain in the hospitality and retail sectors, company insolvencies in England and Wales fell by a fifth between 2019 and 2020. While overall business profits slipped in 2020, the impact was far less severe than in the financial crisis of 2008 or the early-1990s recession. And British businesses have never held so much cash.”, The Economist, February 13, 2021

“Warnings inflation could breach 2% target as prices rise: Prices rose in January in what some economists warned could mark the first step towards increasing costs post-lockdown. Consumers paid more for food and sellers of household goods offered smaller-than-usual New Year discounts, official figures suggest. Inflation rose 0.7% in the 12 months to January, up from December’s 0.6%.”, BBC News, February 17, 2021

Wendy’s Is Reopening Here For the First Time in Two Decades: Get ready for square-shaped burgers, England! During the summer of 2020, Wendy’s Company announced that it is hoping to return to the U.K. after a 20-year absence, and the news was recently confirmed with new details. In the coming months, the chain will open locations in Reading and Oxford, and locations in London are being looked into next, according to The Sun.”, Eat This, Not That!, February 21, 2021

United States

“US: Consumers went on an Unexpected Rampage in January: The US consumer came roaring back with a vengeance in January as retail sales sky-rocketed 5.3% m/m, far beyond expectations of 1.2%. It was the first gain after three consecutive months of losses. Outside of the pandemic, it was the third-largest monthly gain ever, and it was the largest gain since October 2001, the month after the 9/11 attacks. Of the 15 categories reporting for December, there wasn’t a single decline.”, Euler Hermes, February 17, 2021

Restaurant Customers Showing Signs Of Pandemic Fatigue: Concern for safety protocols such as masks and gloves softened among consumers.  Consumers favored shorter wait times over safety protocols. Curbside and in-store pickups are on the rise.”,, February 15, 201

The International Franchise Association (IFA) estimates more than 26,000 franchised locations will be added this year, (in the USA)  offsetting declines seen in 2020. Employment is projected to grow by more than 10%. The projections hinge on several factors including control of the pandemic, the vaccine rollout and government aid to businesses and individuals. In its annual economic outlook, the International Franchise Association is estimating more than 26,000 franchised locations will be added, or a gain of 3.5% to more than 780,000 establishments.”, CNBC, February 17, 2021

“Pizza proves to be pandemic-proof: Pizza’s popularity has proven itself to be pandemic-proof and growing while restaurants in general continue to suffer during the crisis. According to The New York Times, combined revenue for Domino’s and Papa John’s through much of 2020 ‘grew so much that it was roughly equivalent to their selling about 30 million more large cheese pizzas than they had the year before.’”, LinkedIn News, February 14, 2021

Salesforce rethinks its Ivory Tower offices: The company announced Tuesday a new “work from anywhere” strategy that gives employees far more flexibility to choose what place they consider the office. Salesforce said most employees will work from the office only one to three days a week, while some will work fully remotely. It now foresees that only the smallest share of its workforce will come to an office each day.”, Axios, February 10, 2021

Brand News

Why Burger King France Handed Out a Free Bag of Potatoes to Every Customer Who Wanted One: The chain bought surplus crops from struggling farmers hit by the pandemic. To help farmers in France, Burger King snapped up an extra 200 tons of potatoes that otherwise would not have been sold. But what was it going to do with all those potatoes? The solution: Give away a free kilogram bag of potatoes to any drive-thru customer who wanted one (it came out to about 181,000 bags up for grabs, by our calculations).”, Ad Week, February 16, 2021

Checkers & Rally’s Rolls Into the Future with New Look and Momentum: The chain’s “restaurant of the future” model will debut this summer. Same branding. More contemporary design. In 2020, Checkers beat counter-service competition by more than 600 basis points, CEO Frances Allen says.”, QSR Magazine, February 11, 2021

Denny’s starts three-phase rollout of new virtual brands: More than half of U.S. locations have signed up for Burger Den, Melt Down delivery-only concepts, CEO John Miller says. the three-phase rollout began earlier this month, the company said Tuesday. ‘These brands provide opportunities at dinner and late night to leverage underutilized labor and kitchen space,’ said John Miller, CEO of the Spartanburg, S.C.-based family dining brand, on a fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday.”, Nation’s Restaurant News, February 19, 2021

McDonald’s testing plant-based McPlant burger at select locations in Scandinavia: Customers in Denmark and Sweden are the first to sink their teeth into the sandwich. The meatless burger was first teased as an upcoming menu offering during an Investors Day event in Nov. 2020. Made with a “juicy, plant-based patty” and “all the classic toppings” on a sesame seed bun, the McPlant was touted as the only plant-based burger with the “iconic” McDonald’s taste.”, Fox News, February 2, 2021

Wingstop’s digital sales skyrocket during pandemic: Fast-casual brand sees digital business push past $1 billion, to more than 60% of systemwide sales, CEO Charlie Morrison says. The Dallas-based fast-casual brand said systemwide sales were $1.95 billion for the fiscal year ended Dec. 26, compared to $1.52 billion in the prior year.”, Nation’s Restaurant news, February 18, 2021

Restaurants and Startups Try to Outrun Uber Eats and DoorDash: Big delivery-app fees gnaw at many restaurants; entrepreneurs and eateries pitch workarounds. DoorDash Inc., Uber Technologies Inc.’s UBER Eats and Grubhub Inc. GRUB can charge restaurants up to 30% of every order—a chunk many owners say dents profits even as more orders come in. A new crop of services is promising online ordering at a lower cost to eateries, by letting the restaurants arrange more deliveries themselves.”, The Wall Street Journal, February 21,,2021

Articles and Charts About Doing Business in The Times Of COVID-19 and Beyond

“The future of work after COVID-19: Here, we assess the lasting impact of the pandemic on labor demand, the mix of occupations, and the workforce skills required in eight countries with diverse economic and labor market models: China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Together, these eight countries account for almost half the global population and 62 percent of GDP.”, McKinsey, February 18, 2021

“10 Biggest Challenges Small Business Owners Face Right Now: The small business owner and entrepreneur has been challenged over the past year. How can you help those in need? Everyone needs a village.”, Entrepreneur Magazine, February 20, 2021

The World’s Most Searched Consumer Brands: Strong brands create an emotional link with consumers, and tech brands are no exception. In fact, Google, Amazon, Netflix, and even eBay rank as some of the most searched consumer brands worldwide. It’s hard to imagine life without these household names, but how do brand preferences shift and change across internet searches worldwide?”, Visual Capitalist, February 12, 2021

Where Are the Oldest Companies in Existence?   In just a few decades, it’s possible that some of today’s most recognized companies may no longer be household names. Corporate longevity, or the average lifespan of a company, has been shrinking dramatically. In the 1960s, a typical S&P 500 company was projected to last for more than 60 years. However, with the rapidly transforming business landscape today, it’s down to just 18 years.”, Visual Capitalist, February 21, 2021

Who We Are and How We Help Companies ‘Go Global’ Successfully

Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for U.S. businesses Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets, providing in-country operations support and problem solving. around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working in many countries. Our Associate network on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries.

Founded in 2001, Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) takes businesses global and currently has activity in 25 countries.  Our Clients are consumer-faced brands.  Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence.

Find out more about the services we provide companies Going Global at:

Download our 4th quarter 2020 GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking chart at this link:

Download our latest published article, “2021 International Outlook – Mixed Prospects Amid Global Uncertainty”, go to this link:

William Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor of Edwards Global Services (EGS). He has 46 years of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience and has lived in 7 countries. With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  Mr. Edwards advises a wide range of companies on early to long term global development of their brands.

For truly global market research, operations and development support across 40 countries on taking your business global successfully contact Mr. Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.   Click here to schedule a call with Bill Edwards