“Despite COVID-19 putting a dent in consumers’ finances and morale, many still remain hopeful on their financial situation going forward. A recovering US economy, rallied by the availability of a vaccine, has instilled optimism in many consumers during tumultuous times. In spite of that, how well this recovery can be sustained ultimately hinges on how quickly and how well the pandemic can be contained in 2021.”
– Amr Hamdi, Finance Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • Impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ household finances
  • Sentiment toward consumers’ future financial health
  • Change in consumer spending habits

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

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

                • Top takeaways
                  • Despite gradual recovery, pandemic fatigue continues to grip consumers going into 2021
                    • A year into the pandemic, spending habits remain relatively consistent, with a slight focus on adding to savings in the future
                      • Consumers spend less on nonessential shopping, but staying home means higher grocery bills
                        • Market overview
                          • Figure 1: Key economic indicators as of November 2020
                        • Opportunities and challenges to economic recovery
                          • Challenge: US adults need economic relief
                            • Opportunity: Consumers feel optimistic going into 2021
                            • State of the Economy

                              • Economic overview
                                • Figure 2: Key economic indicators as of November 2020
                              • US unemployment continues to improve as the country opens back up
                                • Figure 3: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-November 2020
                              • Consumer confidence remains unsteady amidst the pandemic
                                • Figure 4: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-November 2020
                              • DPI continues to decrease from record highs of past year
                                • Figure 5: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-November 2020
                              • Personal saving rate down as economic activity picks back up
                                • Figure 6: Personal saving rate, seasonally adjusted, January 2007-December 2020
                              • GDP increases by more than 30%
                                • Figure 7: GDP change from previous period, Q1 2007-Q3 2020
                            • Future Financial Situation

                              • 4 in 10 consumers expect their financial situation to remain unchanged
                                • Figure 8: Change in financial situation, November 2020
                              • Nearly half of unemployed adults are positive about 2021
                                • Figure 9: Change in financial situation, by employment status, November 2020
                              • Black consumers are optimistic for 2021
                                • Figure 10: Future financial situation, by race, November 2020
                            • Negative Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

                              • Larger grocery bills one of the top negative financial effects of the pandemic
                                • Figure 11: COVID-19 negative impact, November 2020
                                • Figure 12: Chase Freedom direct mail promotion, December 2020
                              • Unemployed and part-time workers hit the hardest throughout pandemic
                                • Figure 13: COVID-19 negative impact, by employment status, November 2020
                              • Higher-income households unscathed by grim 2020
                                • Figure 14: COVID-19 negative impact, by income level, November 2020
                            • Positive Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

                              • Less dining out a positive on consumers’ finances
                                • Figure 15: COVID-19 positive impact, November 2020
                                • Figure 16: Old Navy Afterpay email, seen November 2020
                                • Figure 17: Coach Klarna email, seen December 2020
                              • Consumers still worry about air travel amid global pandemic
                                • Figure 18: Comfort level of certain behaviors due to COVID-19, January 2021
                              • COVID-19 positively impacted those with incomes the most
                                • Figure 19: COVID-19 positive impact, by employment status, November 2020
                            • Past Spending Behaviors

                              • Overall spending cut back as consumers add to savings
                                • Figure 20: Past spending behaviors, November 2020
                                • Figure 21: Past spending behaviors, by generation, November 2020
                              • Lower-income households continue uphill battle
                                • Figure 22: Top three past spending behaviors, by income level, November 2020
                            • Future Spending Behaviors

                              • Saving more, spending less
                                • Figure 23: Future spending behaviors, November 2020
                              • Major purchase appetite repressed in favor of home improvements
                                • Figure 24: Spending behaviors – Past and future, November 2020
                            • Opinions about Financial Future

                              • Consumers remain resilient in the face of the pandemic
                                • Figure 25: Opinions on financial future, November 2020
                              • Black consumers optimistic despite bearing the brunt of COVID-19
                                • Figure 26: Opinions on financial future, by race, November 2020
                            • Optimism for Financial Future

                              • Over half of consumers bullish on being able to save more in 2021
                                • Figure 27: Optimism regarding finances in 2021, November 2020
                              • Millennials and Gen X target paying off debt as 2021 resolution
                                • Figure 28: Optimism regarding finances in 2021, by generation, November 2020
                              • Unemployed consumers expecting financial recovery in 2021
                                • Figure 29: Optimism regarding finances in 2021, by employment status, November 2020
                            • Pessimism toward Financial Future

                              • 45% of consumers doubt they will be able to save more in 2021
                                • Figure 30: Pessimism regarding finances in 2021, November 2020
                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                              • Data sources
                                • Consumer survey data
                                  • Direct marketing creative
                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                      • Abbreviations

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