‘Quarantinis,’ Bread Makers and Badminton: What’s Hot in Down Consumer Market

Wall Street Journal analysis finds households shifted from supermarkets to online and from Whole Foods to waffle irons as lockdowns hit

Consumer spending fell 7.5% in March, prompting further concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. Here’s why consumer spending is so important and how it can signal if the country is heading toward a recession. Photo: Getty Images

香蕉视频苹果下载U.S. consumer-spending patterns shifted in late March and early April as Americans adapted to continuing business closures and work-from-home orders to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

A Wall Street Journal analysis of household-spending data found grocery-store visits retreated after initially surging in mid-March, when the shutdowns gained steam. In the more recent period, online grocery shopping and spending on alcohol delivery boomed. U.S. consumers shelled out more on bread makers, puzzles, board games, bubble makers and booze. They bought tomato seeds for their gardens and home-improvement supplies for their shelters. They snapped up printers and space heaters to outfit home offices and in many cases started online psychotherapy.

Meantime, they cut spending on clothes, though not so much on sweatshirts and pajamas. And consumers are still spending less overall than before the pandemic, as the online-sales boom remains too small to offset the bigger drop in in-person shopping.

The recent turn in consumer spending followed sharp declines in spending on hotels, restaurants, airlines and other travel in mid-March, along with increases in spending in general merchandise stores, gun and ammunition shops and marijuana suppliers.

These latest data don’t cover the last week in April, when authorities allowed some businesses to reopen in states including Mississippi, Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, Alaska, Texas and South Carolina, with social-distancing measures in place.

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