Skip to main content

Coronavirus has changed how we spend money: here's what people are buying

Coronavirus has changed how we spend money: here's what people are buying
(Image credit: Getty)

57% of Americans have increased spending on groceries while in quarantine, according to a new poll from Ameritrade which looks into how COVID-19 has changed spending habits. On average, those polled had spent an extra $282 on groceries since the start of quarantine measures, with 20% saying that the lockdown has boosted their grocery spending significantly. 

The survey suggests that, for many Americans, stay-at-home measures have redirected spending to essentials or at-home activities. Understandably, 53% have reported an increase in spending on cleaning products. Nearly a third have also increased spending on streaming, with the best streaming services bringing out new content or making socially-distanced viewing parties possible as a way of keeping people occupied and in contact.

People are spending more on groceries, streaming services, and charity donations. 

People are spending more on groceries, streaming services, and charity donations.  (Image credit: Ameritrade)

The best grocery delivery services have been kept busy throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with some shoppers struggling to secure delivery slots and fearing food shortages. This, alongside an increase in time spent in the home due to a shift to homeschooling and working from home, could explain why people are spending more on groceries. However, the takeout industry has also been busier due to the crisis, with a third of those polled saying they have increased spending on takeout. This may be due to the inability to visit favorite restaurants and eat out. 78% say that lockdown has decreased their spending on eating out, and a further 64% said that quarantine has saved them money on going out for drinks.

People are spending less on vacations, eating out, and commuting. 

People are spending less on vacations, eating out, and commuting.  (Image credit: Ameritrade)

We recently reported that Sun Basket CEO Don Barnett declared eating at home the 'new normal', with the best meal kit delivery services dealing with an increased demand for convenient and pre-portioned food in lieu of restaurant options. Going forward, the survey found that 71% of Americans intend to 'cook more at home instead of dining out or ordering takeout' when the pandemic is over.

"You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a good time"

Ameritrade found that people are turning increasingly to low-budget or free activities to pass the time, with 82% agreeing that "you don't need to spend a lot of money to have a good time". The most popular activities include going for walks (63%), playing games and puzzles (49%), working out (45%) and virtual tours of museums and national parks (10%).

People are going on walks, working out and playing games to pass the time. 

People are going on walks, working out and playing games to pass the time.  (Image credit: Ameritrade)

We recently brought you ideas of 40 free and fun things to do in lockdown, to bring you the best free trials and events being released to keep people occupied. It's no surprise that physical activities have proved popular during lockdown. Experts have recommended that physical exercise is one of the most effective ways to stay healthy and feel happy when working from home