They are buying, they are just buying from home.
That's what this market is saying. Facebook's (FB) Mark Zuckerberg, one real smart guy, has over and over again talked about the most valuable asset people have: time. They love to multi-task. They hate lines. They hate to wait. If they can't do two things at once count them out.
So going to the mall to try on bras at L Brands' (LB) Victoria's Secret or lower-value Zegna suits at Macy's (M) or handbags at Bloomingdale's is a giant waste of time. Just getting a parking spot is a lost opportunity to do something else.
You know what isn't a waste of time? Doing an Instagram slideshow where you've bought cosmetics from Ulta (ULTA) and look your best.
Or ordering a pizza from Domino's (DPZ) with your Facebook page while you watch the football game.
Or looking things up on Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) or asking one of the myriad devices to answer questions while you are making dinner at home to save money.
This is the new economy and it doesn't include going shopping in any traditional way other than perhaps going to Sephora or Ulta to help your selfie profile or going to Apple (AAPL) to get the latest device. (Apple's stock is truly a battleground but I don't mind battlegrounds that have $40 a share in overseas cash that could return if President-elect Trump gets his way.).
If it were about consumer weakness then you wouldn't have had the best auto sales in years yesterday. They would be down, not up. If it were about consumer weakness you wouldn't have people trying to buy homes at a pace that's at the 2006 level despite higher rates. If it were about consumer weakness you wouldn't have jammed planes on all domestic routes.
It's about time management. It's about wanting it now. It's about getting what you want at the best possible price.
That's why this market reverted to FANG today. FANG is something that gives you time and saves you time and creates time. It's the opposite of Kohl's (KSS) , Nordstrom (JWN) and Macy's. (Exclude Costco (COST) as it's a recovery from deflation story)
Go a step further. We want autonomous cars -- witness the Nvidia (NVDA) comments at CES -- because they give us time. Time to read and time to watch movies and time think and read on your Kindle.
The bricks-and-mortar people are not all oblivious. Remember what the brilliant Don Wood, CEO of Federal Realty (FRT) , said when he came on Mad Money and talked about why his shopping centers remain almost fully booked -- he's building them right where the people are. He's even building residential housing adjacent. He's making it so you can get goods and services, the former faster and fresher than Amazon and the latter not even 'Amazonable." He gets it.
He knows they want it and they want it now.
It all goes back to Zuckerberg's thesis.
Time is money.
Facebook, Apple, Alphabet and Costco are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells FB, AAPL, GOOGL or COST? Learn more now.