As the global COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States in early 2020, both grocery and food delivery services saw huge increases in business. Several online grocery purchase platforms saw a 6x increase in new customers making their first-ever purchase during the week of March 31. States like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois and Pennsylvania saw particularly high growth in consumers opting to have their groceries delivered for the first time. Throughout the summer of 2020, food delivery services remained popular and spending continued to remain more than 100% above 2019 levels.
On December 29, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began to distribute initial direct deposit payments for the second round of stimulus checks to consumers as part of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IRS sent check payments beginning the following day, on December 30, with an official payment date of January 4. According to the IRS, most recipients would receive payments via direct deposits. The second round of payments were generally $600 for single individuals and $1,200 for married couples filing a joint tax return. Those with qualifying children should have also received $600 for each child.
Even amidst an unprecedented pandemic, Americans still traveled for the holidays, just at lower numbers than usual. That’s according to Envestnet | Yodlee’s Income and Spending trends, as well as recent news reports. Airports saw depressed numbers for holiday season. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), there were over 600,000 people screened at airport security checkpoints on Christmas Day, or roughly 23% of the number vs a year ago.
Amidst the most unique holiday season in recent memory, Envestnet | Yodlee’s COVID-19 Income and Spending Trends sought out to observe how holiday shopping has differed this year compared to previous years. Spending on clothing has been steadily improving throughout the year, although even as the holiday shopping season is in full swing, it is still trending lower than 2019 due to a variety of reasons, ranging from shorter store hours to a slow economic recovery.
The market for RVs experienced a surge in demand this past summer as months quarantined at home and concerns about the potential hazards of travel led would-be vacationers to rethink their travel plans and incorporate RVs.
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Envestnet | Yodlee’s Income and Spending trends noted an increase in consumer buying in large format retail which led to certain stores being overrun with customers. Spending at these retailers spiked as customers feared store closures and supply shortages.
Many Americans who stopped paying student loan payments in April are still not paying. That can be seen in the Envestnet | Yodlee Income and Spending trends data through the month of October. The number of users making student loan payments beginning in April dropped by 50 percent.
During the lockdown in many areas of the country, households were suddenly faced with finding activities to do with the family or occupy time while activities out of the home came to a halt. While some new skills may be short lived, some new habits emerged: households have increased their cooking activity and cultivated new bread making skills, while others embarked on more ambitious home improvements and upgrades that had previously been ignored.
For the fifth straight year, Amazon Prime Day created excitement among consumers with discounted offerings for customers opening their wallets at the cloud cash register. While Amazon has not yet self-reported a final tally, according to Envestnet | Yodlee data, the event was a success, leading to an average spend per customer (or “ticket size”) of $76 during the event versus $74 a year ago.
Console gamers have not been sitting on the sidelines, patiently awaiting next generation Xbox and PlayStation systems to arrive. Envestnet | Yodlee COVID-19 Spending trends have shown that console spending has continued to maintain high levels throughout the pandemic.
At the onset of the pandemic, consumer spending on both grocery and food delivery services experienced large spikes. Several online grocery purchase platforms reported a massive increase of new customers making their first-ever purchase during the week of March 31. States like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois and Pennsylvania saw high growth in new customers opting for grocery delivery.
Months into the global pandemic, salons and barber shops are slowly opening back up at different stages, but the industry as a whole remains hit hard. An analysis of spending at personal grooming retail outlets (haircuts, barber shops, spas, salons etc.) reveals that this industry has been severely affected by COVID-19.
Overall, Envestnet | Yodlee COVID-19 Income and Spending trends data shows that consumer spending in the summer resort category has recovered since bottoming out in April 2020. For this analysis, we looked at spending in resort towns during summer to see if the pandemic affected areas that would usually be bustling during vacation months. In our analysis, we took a closer look at U.S. towns like Truckee, California; Aspen, Colorado; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and others.
The COVID-19 pandemic put tremendous pressure on the new mortgage market in the United States through May 2020. While COVID-19 has made the in-person home inspection process more challenging, it has not slowed the pace of new mortgage applications and re-financing through this time period.
In March 2020, the travel industry came to a near standstill. Trains, planes, and automobiles all saw a steep decline in consumer engagement as the vast majority of personal and corporate travel plans were scuttled. The lodging industry was also in a quagmire, with consumer spending on hotels and vacation rentals experiencing steep declines during the first weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The classic experience of road tripping across the country has gained momentum during the pandemic. Concerns about the potential hazards of other forms of travel have led vacationers to hit the road in a Recreational Vehicle (or RV). There are a myriad of stories of how this demand has transpired. Some travelers are looking for alternatives to hotels and view an RV as a more controlled environment.
When the going gets tough, the tough open a brokerage account. Well, that’s not exactly the saying, but that seems to be what is occurring across the country as the pandemic has set in. According to Envestnet | Yodlee spending trends data, new online brokerage accounts were opened at very high rates in March 2020, compared to the previous month. Interestingly this phenomenon has occurred across all income groups, as shown from our Income and Spending Trends Data.
As the United States has bounced between planned openings and closures, businesses which rely on consumer interaction have had to adapt to keep up. To truly observe the experience, one need not look further than traditional malls across the country. Many stores have adhered to regulations that require a reduction in hours, reduced occupancy, and other restrictions to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In Part 2 of this blog, we’ll take a look at consumer spending on commuting since the shelter-in-place orders were initiated across the country and resulted in many Americans working from home. Public transit and options such as taxis and ride sharing continue to look sluggish in terms of spending, although car rentals have picked up at a faster pace.
As states begin to loosen shelter-in-place restrictions, various factors have led to an improved landscape for the travel and transportation industry. Although it must be said – progress has been slow. Part One of this blog analyzes spending on travel and transportation compared to 2019. Part Two will focus on insights related to commuting. In an April blog post, we analyzed data which showed dramatic decreases in travel-related consumer spending during the second half of March and into April.