As Americans feel more confident to step out of their homes, they aim to spend less online and more in-person than at the peak of the pandemic.
Key insights about US consumers from Deloitte’s State of the Consumer Tracker
- As vaccinations rise and new cases of COVID-19 fall sharply from their January peak, consumers’ concerns about their well-being and that of their families have fallen (figure 1). Anxiety levels are also lower than in April 2020 (at the start of the pandemic) and December 2020 (when virus cases shot up).
- Financial stress is now a bigger cause of anxiety for consumers than the virus (figure 2). Continued financial stress is likely due to the pandemic’s economic impact—while the labor market has improved steadily since April 2020, total employment in June 2021 was still 4.5% lower than prepandemic levels.
- People are now more comfortable heading out to stores, restaurants, and in-person events (figure 3). This has aided consumer spending on services, which grew for the third straight month in May. Deloitte forecasts real consumer spending on services to rise by 6.2% in 2021 after a 3.9% contraction in 2020.
- As safety perceptions rise, consumers’ preference for online shopping has gone down compared to levels at the peak of the pandemic (figure 4). This may weigh on ecommerce sales growth in the near term. Online shopping, however, should remain popular over the medium to long term due to the pandemic’s permanent impact on the way Americans work and live.