“The current economic climate of the US has the country primed for further growth over the course of the next few years. The nation is reopening, vaccination rates are increasing, and consumer sentiments are exceedingly positive. With unemployment rates continuing to improve and the economy rapidly growing, many consumers have seen their finances change for the better in the past 12 months. On the other hand, the economic fallout from COVID-19 has only amplified the financial impact on low-income households and made them worse off than before. For these consumers, expectations for financial recovery is a matter of years not months, with some not even expecting to ever get back to where they were pre-pandemic.”
– Amr Hamdi, Finance Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer finances within the past year.
  • Sentiments toward consumers’ financial future.
  • Change in consumer spending habits.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • As the US economy continues its rapid recovery, 36% say they are better off when it comes to their financial situations
      • Figure 1: Change in financial situation in the past 12 months, 2021
    • Consumers are looking to put their savings to work through domestic travel
      • Figure 2: Future spending behaviors, 2021
    • Minorities remain most concerned over their financial future, with the pandemic only making their road to recovery all the more grueling
      • Figure 3: Concern over financial future, by race and ethnicity, 2021
    • Market overview
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • FIs who use personalized tools and a proactive approach to improving financial literacy and management will come out ahead in the next normal
      • Figure 4: Fifth Third Early Pay, 2021
      • Figure 5: Digit, 2021
    • BNPL is providing many younger consumers with a competitive alternative to using a credit card
      • Figure 6: Affirm Card, 2021
      • Figure 7: Tommy Hilfiger x Klarna email 2021
  3. State of the Economy

    • Economic overview
      • Figure 8: Key economic indicators, 2021
    • Unemployment rates continue to improve in line with the country’s reopening
      • Figure 9: Unemployment and underemployment, 2007-21
    • Consumer confidence surges amid vaccination efforts and a healthier US economy
      • Figure 10: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2007-21
    • DPI dips as effects from March’s financial assistance fade
      • Figure 11: Disposable Personal Income change from previous period, 2007-21
    • Personal savings rate falls as consumers put their savings to work
      • Figure 12: Personal saving rate, seasonally adjusted, 2007-21
    • GDP expands and primed for further growth, as the US shows signs of a strong economy
      • Figure 13: GDP change from previous period, Q1 2007-Q1 2021
  4. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Over half of unemployed adults are not financially worse off than before
    • 38% of consumers expect to financially recover within 1-2 years
    • Home renovations to remain a popular outlet among consumers
  5. Change in Financial Situation

    • 36% of consumers have seen their financial situation change for the better over the past 12 months
      • Figure 14: Change in financial situation in the past 12 months, 2021
    • Almost half of unemployed adults are financially worse off than before
      • Figure 15: Change in financial situation in the past 12 months, by employment status, 2021
  6. Financial Situation Recovery

    • 38% of consumers expect to financially recover within 1-2 years
      • Figure 16: Expectation for financial recovery, 2021
    • Almost a quarter of financially struggling consumers don’t expect to ever recover
      • Figure 17: Expectation for financial recovery, by financial situation, 2021
  7. Definition of Financial Success

    • Perception of financial success changes with age
      • Figure 18: Definition of financial success, by generation, 2021
  8. Past Spending Behaviors

    • Consumers cut back on overall spending as they add to their savings
      • Figure 19: Past spending behaviors, 2021
    • Lower-income households continue their financial struggle throughout the pandemic
      • Figure 20: Three past spending behaviors, by income level, 2021
  9. Future Spending Behaviors

    • Domestic travel primed for mass demand as consumer confidence surges
      • Figure 21: Willingness to travel domestically since December 2020, 2021
      • Figure 22: Visa Direct, 2021
    • Home renovations to remain a popular outlet among consumers
      • Figure 23: Spending behaviors – Past and future, 2021
  10. Concern over Financial Future

    • Despite an improving economy, financial concerns still loom over half of consumers
      • Figure 24: Concern over financial future, 2021
    • Minorities most concerned over their financial future, as they bear the brunt of the pandemic
      • Figure 25: Concern over financial future, by race and ethnicity, 2021
      • Figure 26: Greenwood, 2021
  11. Aspects of Future Financial Concern

    • Providing for the family and healthcare costs are the two biggest areas of concerns for consumers
      • Figure 27: Aspects of financial future concern, 2021
    • The lack of income has over half of unemployed consumers concerned over their ability to provide for their families
      • Figure 28: Aspects of financial future concern, by employment status, 2021
  12. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

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