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How We Spent Our Money in 2020 – The Wall Street Journal


More paint jobs, fewer pantsuits. More meal kits, fewer manicures.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives and altered our spending patterns. Americans are staying home more, traveling less and occupying themselves in different ways. The Wall Street Journal analyzed credit-card data from Earnest Research to understand and document the shifts in food, clothing and entertainment purchases over the past year.

Change in spending from a year earlier

The change for the week ended Dec. 2:

Apparel and

accessories -21%

Travel and

transportation -54%

Events and

Attractions -72%

Change in spending from a year earlier

The change for the week ended Dec. 2:

Apparel and

accessories -21%

Travel and

transportation -54%

Events and

attractions -72%

Change in spending from a year earlier

The change for the week ended Dec. 2:

Apparel and

Accessories -21%

Travel and

Transportation -54%

Events and

Attractions -72%

Change in spending from a year earlier

The change for the week ended Dec. 2:

Apparel and

accessories -21%

Travel and

transportation -54%

Events and

attractions -72%

Food

Food-delivery spending has more than doubled compared with a year earlier, and all major delivery companies saw revenue swell. Meanwhile, fine-dining restaurants—especially local eateries—continue to struggle, despite some places building elaborate outdoor dining setups to lure customers, including single-table igloos.

When the pandemic set in, Americans stocked up on supplies, prompting a surge in spending at supermarkets and with online grocers. By late spring, interest also grew in meal-kit delivery kits.

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Clothing and Self Care

After an initial plunge in clothes, consumers invested more in athletic and athleisure apparel. And with a significant percentage of office workers still working from home, spending on professional attire and footwear has remained low.

Active and

athleisure 8.7%

Professional and

dress attire -46.8%

Active and

athleisure 8.7%

Professional and

dress attire -46.8%

Active and

athleisure 8.7%

Professional and

dress attire -46.8%

Active and

athleisure 8.7%

Professional and

dress attire -46.8%

In the health-and-beauty sector, spending plummeted at salons and spas this spring, as lockdowns targeted personal-care services.

Makeup and

skin products 2.6%

Makeup and

skin products 2.6%

Makeup and

skin products 2.6%

Makeup and

skin products 2.6%

Home and Home Entertainment

Americans, stuck at home, started painting, fixing and decorating. This trend led to higher sales of products for the home and garden.

With theaters, concerts and other entertainment venues closed, Americans turned to home entertainment like videogames and video streaming. Purchases at bookstores, though, haven’t kept up.

Music streaming and audio 7.8%

Music streaming and audio 7.8%

Music streaming and audio 7.8%

Music streaming

and audio 7.8%

Shopping

Department stores have struggled amid the pandemic. Retailers had to deal with lockdowns in the spring and rising numbers of Covid-19 cases nationwide during holiday-shopping season.

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Overall, general merchandisers fared better, and spending shifted to online retailers. But sales at convenience stores fell by more than half compared with last year.

Online marketplaces 14.2%

Discount and

Dollar stores 0.7%

Convenience stores -58.4%

Online marketplaces 14.2%

Discount and

Dollar stores 0.7%

Convenience stores -58.4%

Online

marketplaces 14.2%

Discount and

Dollar stores 0.7%

Convenience

stores -58.4%

Online

marketplaces 14.2%

Discount and

Dollar stores 0.7%

Convenience

stores -58.4%

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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