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Covid-19 poll daily insights

March 31, 2020

  • More people who shopped at independent retailers bought clothing, compared to those shopping at Amazon and other major retailers.
  • The frenzied spending of the last two weeks may be settling down, but the vast majority of people are still shopping for products beyond just food.
  • Even those who plan to start spending less are more likely to buy the “new essentials” than other products.


Shoppers prefer to buy clothing from independent retailers.
A significantly higher percentage of those who said they shopped from an independent retailer bought apparel and accessories compared to those who said they shopped at Amazon. 50 percent of those who shopped at independent retailers said they had recently bought apparel and accessories.

Percentage of People Who Bought Apparel and Accessories by Type of Retailer 3-31

After an initial boom, spending is starting to decline.
More than 40 percent of people reported spending more than usual over the past two weeks, but only about 20 percent anticipate spending more than usual over the next two weeks. On the other hand, while 37 percent percent of people reported spending less than usual over the last two weeks, 50 percent expect to spend less than usual over the next two weeks.

All together, this suggests that many shoppers’ buying habits may be returning to normal, and that for some, spending is continuing to decline. However, 75% still reported that they are planning on buying more than just food in the weeks ahead.

Past Spend vs Planned Spend 3-31

The “new essentials” are here to stay. Even people who plan to spend less than usual in the coming weeks are still planning on buying “new essentials,” including home goods, sporting goods, health and beauty products, and toys. Overall, about 10% more respondents said they plan on buying new essentials compared to non-essentials such as jewelry, apparel, electronics, automotive products, or hardware. Across every spending level, people plan to buy more new essentials than products across other categories, excluding food.

Future spending plans 3-31

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Consumer sentiment

What are people buying and why?

Even those who plan to spend less than usual still need entertainment and ways to pass time at home. For many, this means expanding stocking up on “new essentials” from toys and video games to home manicure kits and journals. One respondent wrote that they’re planning to buy “groceries and books. To eat and so I don’t die of boredom.”

Others are buying clothing they don’t need right now, but hope to wear soon. One person responded, “I plan to buy clothes for the summer. Although I am dressing each day, I am looking forward to nicer weather and being able to wear more “fashionable” clothing.”

As many are relying on groceries and home cooking, some are making purchases to help make the most of their time in the kitchen, from new appliances to ingredients for new recipes. As one person responded, they’re buying “extra ingredients to cook more labor-intensive dishes since I have more free time.”

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