Lowe's ($NYSE:LOW) is well off the lows, and it could bust through to a new 2020 high if its earnings report Wednesday, May 20 is anything like its top competitor, Home Depot. 

Lowe's stock suffered a major initial aftershock as the US economy almost completely shut down in the peak of the pandemic panic - but, as people increasingly spent time indoors, and increasingly started looking for stuff to do, it looks like the home goods retailer started to get way more attention - and it wasn't alone. Right now, its stock is just below breakeven for 2020.

Home Depot saw "traffic to HomeDepot.com was consistently above Black Friday levels," one of the company's executives said on its quarterly earnings call May 19, in which it saw sales rise for the COVID-impacted quarter. 

It's not just Lowe's Facebook engagement (it has added more followers there since the pandemic began than it did for more than 18 months leading up to the outbreak). On Twitter, too - shown above - reflects more engagement, with Lowe's Twitter following rising at a greater trajectory beginning at the end of this March.

That's a similar trend for Home Depot (not shown), which saw an uptick in its Twitter following as well, during the pandemic.

Job postings have fallen more than 28% from their 2020 peak at Lowe's, despite the apparent uptick in social business and the likelihood (based on Home Depot) that it did more business. It's not clear the company will need as many staffers to manage stores that are both seeing an influx of online orders and are having customers spaced out thanks to social-distancing policies. 

Regardless of how quickly national and local lawmakers nudge economies to reopen, the Home Depot/Lowe's trend is one likely to continue. Purchasing patterns are gearing more toward homebody buys, between bookworms, arts & crafts, and inflatable pools, it doesn't look like people are too eager to get out, regardless of lockdown restrictions or presidential proclamations. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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