Consumer Sentiment During The Pandemic

This article was first published on May 19, 2020.

This article first appeared in Payments Plus Q2 2020.

As the coronavirus pandemic in the United States evolves from the acute phase to a “new normal,” shelter in place restrictions will be relaxed and businesses will start to reopen their retail locations. The big questions on many minds are how quickly we will get back to normal, when consumers will return to shopping, and when restaurants, sporting events, and travel will pick up again.

It is unclear how consumers will react, and given the extraordinary pace of new developments, we expect sentiment to shift often. Understanding this rapidly evolving landscape will be critical across the payments value chain as all are trying to predict sales and transaction volumes.


We launched the COVID-19 US Shopping Outlook Survey in mid-April. This weekly flash survey measures consumers’ attitudes with questions focused on shopping sentiment, financial confidence, and the direct impacts of the pandemic.

In addition, we have developed the COVID-19 US Shopping Confidence Index, a proprietary measure of consumer shopping attitudes based on shopping plans and overall financial confidence.

COVID-19 US Shopping Confidence Index, April 13 to April 27, 2020


In late April, consumers responded negatively to questions about making large purchases and re-entering public life. As the pandemic progresses, these metrics will serve as important indicators of recovery in consumer spending habits.


Younger individuals, especially those between 18 and 24, are shifting their spending online and have a greater propensity for discretionary spending.


People with higher incomes are not planning to change their savings behavior after the pandemic. Lower income individuals are more divided, with many planning to save more but some planning to save less. 

Stay tuned for further updates on the Shopping Outlook Survey. We will continue publishing results for the next few months.  If you have questions,  please reach out to us at

Consumer Sentiment During The Pandemic