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How COVID-19 is Impacting Consumer Spending

As COVID-19 continues to unfold, NPD is uniquely positioned to help you understand and react to changes as they happen. As the leading provider of sales tracking data covering stores and e-commerce, we report on what is actually occurring in the marketplace.

We will be updating this page frequently with data, expert analysis, and other resources to help you navigate this challenging time.

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U.S. Consumption Trends by Week

General Merchandise: Dollar Change Versus Year Ago

Compared to last year, U.S. general merchandise dollar sales increased by 27% in the week ending January 9.

Source: The NPD Group/Point-of-Sale Early Indicator Report, NPD Universe, WE Jan 9, 2020
Industries Included: Apparel, Footwear, Auto Aftermarket, Watches, Housewares, Small Domestic Appliances, Toys, Video, Sports Accessories, Consumer Technology, Office Supplies, Prestige Beauty, Juvenile Products


Our retail early indicator data shows discretionary retail dollar sales increased +27% in the week ending January 9, 2021. The distribution of stimulus checks was the primary factor influencing the week’s sales performance, which is the best week vs. year ago sales performance we have seen since the start of the pandemic.

Industry Perspectives:

Matt Powell
Senior Industry Advisor, Sports

“Consumers will continue to be active and seek another set of outdoor activities as temperatures drop and we move through the winter months. We can expect backcountry’s popularity to carry through this season and for product demand to grow, especially as the COVID-19 crisis and social distancing measures continue, ski resorts make operational changes to accommodate the circumstances, and skiers and snowboarders pursue alternatives to get their alpine fix.”

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Stephen Baker
Industry Advisor, Technology & Mobile

“In 2020, consumers saw the value in bigger screens and newer, more modern technology to support their entertainment needs. This commitment to new technology and the value it can provide to the consumer will be key for the continued growth in larger screen TVs in 2021 and beyond.”

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Matt Piscatella
Industry Analyst, U.S. Games

“In 2020, video games was one of the most consistent growth categories in terms of overall participation and investment relative to 2019. This may simply reflect an acceleration of trends that were in effect prior to the pandemic. If this is the case, then the gaming market could experience continued growth without a post-pandemic pullback. If not, however, we may see a post-pandemic valley before returning to growth. It all rests on engagement.”

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