McKinsey’s week in Charts

A transition toward normalcy is possible

Our scenario analysis suggests that the US, Canada, and many European countries would likely have reached herd immunity by now if they had faced only the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 virus and if a high percentage of those eligible to receive the vaccine had chosen to take it. As the more infectious Delta variant becomes more prevalent in a population, countries may have to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates to achieve herd immunity. Click through the interactive below to see what it will take for countries to get there.

To read the article, see “When will the COVID-19 pandemic end?,” August 23, 2021.

How to flex your fluxiness muscle

Being outside our comfort zone can be, well, uncomfortable. But, in a world of flux where change is the only constant, workers who embrace a flux-forward mindset can actually grow into new roles that map better with the future. This means leaning into uncertainty, keeping the big picture in sight, and figuring out what new skills to acquire.

To read the interview, visit “Author Talks: April Rinne on finding calm and meaning in a world of flux,” August 27, 2021.

Consumers in US, Europe, and China spending like it’s 2019

Retail spending is reaching prepandemic norms. Month-over-month retail sales were up 0.6 and 4.6 percent in the United States and the eurozone, respectively, over the summer. China marked a rise of 12.1 percent compared with last year, indicating strengthened consumer confidence.

To read the article, see “Global Economics Intelligence executive summary, July 2021,” August 9, 2021.

For Chinese R&D leaders, it’s all about agile

Executives in our latest China Product Development survey identified their top three priorities to improve R&D processes over the next five years. Topping their “must improve” list is increasing their agility in software and hardware design, and digitizing processes.

To read the article, see “China’s digital R&D imperative,” August 16, 2021.

Stars in their ayes

Yes, some customer reviews are false, and yes, companies have been known to manipulate star ratings. But consumers still largely trust digital word-of-mouth. The surge in global online reviews—up by 87 % from December 2019 to December 2020—will add to their credibility. In lockdown, customers focused on streaming services, food and beverage, and health products; out-of-home services were less reviewed.

To read the article, see “Five-star growth: Using online ratings to design better products,” August 12, 2021.