Economic Stimulus Plan Provides Confidence to Many Businesses: Report

The economic stimulus plan has provided some reassurance as economic concerns decreased while safety concerns increased.

Woman Holding Card While Operating Silver Laptop 919436
Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

In a report released by Alexander Babbage, one of the nation’s leading research firms, consumers were tracked generationally across a number of behaviors, activities and attitudes. The firm collected data from a representative sampling of Americans on March 20 and, again, on March 27 to create the Babbage Pulse. Data will continue to be collected bi-weekly to determine changes in consumption, attitudes and trends as greater portions of the country are impacted by the pandemic.

Some of the key findings in the Babbage Pulse include: 

  • The economic stimulus plan announced on March 27 has provided some reassurance as economic concerns decreased while safety concerns increased.
  • Overall, online shopping spending was little changed from week one to week two with online spending for apparel and clothing trending downward.
  • Grocery shopping and in-home entertainment were the only consumer spending categories to see an increase in spending over the past week while all other categories saw major declines. 
  • All generations increased their spending on in-store grocery purchases and all generations, except baby boomers, increased their online spending for grocery items.
  • Spending on in-home entertainment increased across all generations but Gen Z saw the largest increase with 37% reporting spending more than usual.
  • Spending at take-out restaurants trended down across the board from week 1 to week 2 with baby boomers most likely to decrease their spending.
  • In the coming week, consumers are expected to increase their online grocery shopping.  

Additional key findings: 

  • While Gen Xers felt the most informed about COVID-19, baby boomers felt the least informed.
  • Gen Xers were the most concerned about personal health, followed by millennials and then baby boomers. In spite of their concerns; however, millennials and Gen Xers are slightly less likely to avoid crowds than baby boomers. 

“We wanted to be able to track consumer attitudes, behaviors and spending in light of the coronavirus,” said Alan McKeon, president and CEO. “Our expectation is that, as we move into the recovery phase of this pandemic, insights into consumer attitudes, behaviors and visitation behavior will provide useful insights that accelerate recovery for shopping centers.”