The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way the world shops, perhaps forever in some respects, so WalletHub conducted a nationally representative survey to see how Americans’ shopping habits have evolved during this time of crisis. One of the most surprising results of the survey was that 58 million Americans are actually spending more money while social distancing, despite being able to go out less, in large part because many people are participating in “comfort buying” – or shopping as a way to relieve stress and boredom.
Below are more highlights from the survey, which included questions ranging from what types of non-essential items people are purchasing most to whether they have concerns about the safety of packages or food delivery. You can also check out a Q&A with a panel of experts, followed by a complete description of our methodology.
- 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 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.
Ask the Experts
Americans’ shopping behavior has shifted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more insight into the effects of coronavirus on spending, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the experts below to see their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- What advice do you have for the roughly 58 million Americans who say they are spending more money while social distancing?
- What should people watch out for when it comes to "comfort buying" while socially isolated?
- Should people be concerned about the safety of packages delivered during the pandemic?
- Does it surprise you that the non-essentials people are spending the most money on right now are entertainment (29%) and alcohol (23%)?
Ask the Experts
This report reflects the results of a nationally representative online survey of over 450 respondents.
After we collected all responses, we normalized the data by age, gender and income so the sample would reflect U.S. demographics.
Full Details Overall
|What types of non-essential items are you buying the most right now?|
|Are you spending more or less money due to social distancing?|
|Have you done any “comfort buying” (shopped to make yourself feel better) during the pandemic?|
|How much have you spent “comfort buying” from home during the pandemic? (Intervals)|
|$51 - $150||35%|
|$1 - $50||28%|
|$151 - $300||22%|
|Are you concerned about the safety of packages delivered during the pandemic?|
|Are you concerned about the safety of having food delivered during the pandemic?|
|Do you care where a package is being shipped from? (different state/country)|
|Which do you prefer most?|
|Are you overspending on non-essential items during the pandemic?|
Note: Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.