How COVID Has Changed Americans’ Spending Habits

July 9, 2020

The coronavirus has disrupted everything about our daily life, from how we work to how we spend our money. A new survey from Bloomberg and Morning Consult is shedding light on how Americans are reconsidering their spending in a post-COVID world, and the data may have negative implications for the economic recovery.

The survey found that Americans’ comfort level with where they shop varies widely. Nearly three-fourths of the respondents said they feel at least somewhat safe shopping at a grocery store or small business. Slightly more than half felt the same way about shopping at a big box store. More than half said they feel “somewhat unsafe or not safe at all” shopping at a mall, which is bad news for an industry already facing major hurdles. 

Americans are also becoming more frugal. Over the past three months, 23% of the respondents said they were purchasing more generic brand items, and 28% said they were buying in bulk. 41% said they have skipped a purchase altogether, forgoing the purchase of an appliance, preferred meal, or most commonly, new clothing.

It’s unclear how long-lasting this new austerity will last, but much of the economic recovery will depend on strong consumer spending.


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