While consumer sentiment has steadily improved since the end of July, sentiment plateaued in our last survey fielded immediately following the US elections. Consumer spending and engagement with out-of-home activity also stayed steady or decreased from October to November while spending intent, especially on discretionary items, held steady or fell in November.
Consumers remain mindful of “discretionary” spending
Despite increased optimism in the economy, four out of ten Americans believe their finances will not return to normal until the latter half of 2021 or 2022 and beyond. The same proportion say they are being more mindful of how they spend their money. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, up to 40 percent of consumers (net) say they will decrease spending on discretionary categories, with spending net intent trending down in November.
Shock to loyalty across brands and channels is likely here to stay
With continued pressure on household income, consumers continue to try new brands and channels, with convenience and better value being the primary drivers of the new behavior. Three out of four American consumers have tried a new shopping behavior, and most intend to continue the new shopping behavior even after COVID-19 subsides.
Continuation of homebody economy
Around 24 percent of Americans feel safe about engaging in “normal” out-of-home activities, up slightly from 20 percent in October. About 36 percent of consumers are engaging in “normal” out-of-home activities, in line with recent months and up from 20 percent in May. Americans are most eager to resume getting together with family and friends. US consumers have also adopted many in-home alternatives, and many of these activities such as online streaming and cooking regularly are expected to stick post-COVID-19.
Flight to digital and omnichannel continues
Consumers continue to shift to online shopping across categories, with many consumers planning to shift almost completely online after COVID-19. Americans are trying new digital habits and intensifying usage of digital behaviors such as grocery delivery and restaurant delivery.
These exhibits are based on survey data collected in the United States from November 9–13, 2020. Check back for regular updates on American consumer sentiments, behaviors, income, spending, and expectations.
Global surveys of consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis