WalletHub

About 58 million Americans are spending more money while social distancing, according to WalletHub’s Coronavirus Shopping Survey. This nationally representative survey asked a range of questions, from whether Americans’ spending has increased to what types of non-essential items they are purchasing most and whether they have concerns about deliveries of packages and food. Below are additional highlights of the survey, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

Key Stats

  • Some Americans are shopping more during the pandemic: 58 million Americans are spending more money while social distancing.
  • Many people use shopping to ease stress: 43 percent of Americans have participated in “comfort buying” due to social isolation.
  • Deliveries cause anxiety: 57 percent of Americans are concerned about package safety while comfort buying.
  • People worry about food contamination: 60 percent of Americans are concerned about the safety of having food delivered during the pandemic.
  • People use entertainment and drinking to take the edge off: Americans are spending the most “non-essential” money on entertainment (29 percent) and alcohol (23 percent) right now.

The complete survey results can be found at  https://wallethub.com/blog/coronavirus-shopping-survey/73706/.

Q&A with WalletHub

How has social distancing affected Americans’ spending habits?

“During social distancing, about 58 million Americans are spending more than normal, which is concerning considering the dire state the economy is in at the moment,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “While some overspending may be attributed to stockpiling essentials, other Americans may be spending beyond their means due to stress or simply boredom.”

How common is “comfort buying” in order to relieve the stress of social distancing?  

“Comfort buying to relieve the stress of social distancing is fairly common, with 43 percent of Americans saying they have done it. Of those who have engaged in comfort buying, 63 percent are keeping their purchases below the $150 mark,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “It’s interesting that comfort buying behaviors vary by age. Around 60 percent of people aged 30 to 44 report comfort buying, compared to just 32 percent of people over age 59.”

Are Americans worried about packages they order being contaminated by coronavirus?

“Around 57 percent of Americans worry about the safety of packages they order during the pandemic, and around half care about the state or country from which a package is being shipped,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Nearly 60 percent of Americans worry about contamination in food deliveries during the pandemic. Even though delivery and takeout orders are readily available, some people may be too apprehensive to order.”

Aside from essential purchases, what are people spending the most on right now?

“The most common type of non-essential purchase people make is entertainment, closely followed by alcohol, which might make sense since both are ways to take people’s minds off of the crisis,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Despite social distancing protocols, the surge in video conferencing has led people to keep up with their physical appearance more than you might think, as some of the most popular spending categories are clothing and beauty products.”