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Covid-19 poll daily insights

April 3, 2020

  • Shoppers in the five US states with the most cases of coronavirus are planning to spend less compared to those in the rest of the country.
  • More recently unemployed respondents plan to buy electronics compared to those who are currently employed.
  • Plans to buy beauty and cosmetic products continue to rise for those 45 and over.


Shoppers in the most impacted areas are spending cautiously. Right now, 61% of coronavirus cases in the US are in just five states: New York, New Jersey, Michigan, California, and Louisiana. A higher percentage of people in these states said they plan to spend less than normal, compared to the responses of people in other states.

planned decrease in spend in most impacted states compared to rest of USA 4-3

Unemployment influences plans to buy electronics. As unemployment rises, some recently unemployed people are now planning to buy electronics that they previously had access to through work, like computers. While most are not buying general office supplies, some are buying more big-ticket electronics that can help them get back on their feet. Sixteen percent of recently unemployed people said they would be buying electronics, compared to 12 percent of those with employment. However, only seven percent said they would be buying office supplies, compared to 11 percent of those with employment.

As one respondent said, they’re planning to buy ”a new computer as I am now a freelancer since losing my job.”

planned spend on job supplies by employment status 4-3

Looking good is still a priority. As many people are adjusting their daily routines and getting used to video calls, they’re investing in looking their best. Over the last week, a higher percent of people over 45 say they plan to buy beauty and cosmetics products in the future. As one respondent explained, they’re planning to buy “anti-aging cream because I am not getting younger and there are Zoom happy hours to attend.”

Percent of people 45 and over planning to buy beauty and cosmetics 4-3

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Consumer sentiment

What are people buying and why?

There was an uptick in people who called out plans to buy books compared to previous days. Some want to support local bookstores and comic shops, while others said they are buying books because their local libraries are closed. A few mentioned being sick of looking at screens all day. And some just want to read what they love: as one person said, “I plan to buy a couple of new books from authors I follow.”

Even if people can’t get together to celebrate upcoming holidays and special events, they still plan to buy gifts and supplies for festivities. Several people highlighted their plans to buy gifts and candy for Easter. As one parent said, “My child still believes in the Easter bunny and I really don’t want this to be the year he loses that magic.” Another parent commented, “Two of my kids have birthdays in the next two weeks, so we will be buying gifts and cake supplies.”

Sales continue to drive shopping decisions. Some people say they’re shopping to help their favorite brands stay in business. Others say the sales are just too good to pass up. And for some, marketing emails have been particularly eye-catching these days. As one shopper said: “Emails are addictive.”

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