The COVID-19 Wallet: Consumers Are Spending Again, But They Want Discounts

Consumers are slowly returning to normal, judging by Consumer Sentiment during COVID-19, a study based on Epsilon’s Shopper’s Voice.  

For instance, 67% have resumed their usual spending. But 60% have negative feelings about changes in their lives due to COVID-19 — i.e., sadness, fear and anger. Some also feel some joy.  

In addition, 80% are trying to keep themselves up by taking vitamins, talking to friends and family and going for walks outside.  

At the same time, 40% have saved their government stimulus payment. Gen Z was most likely to save — 50% did so. They were followed by 45% of Gen Y, 43% of the silent generation and 37% of boomers.  

Only 28% of Gen X held onto the money — instead, 43% put it toward paying daily expenses and 31% toward paying loans, mortgages or credit card debt. 

Depending on the product area and age group, consumers also have feelings about email, judging by recent statistics from Shopper’s Voice.



In April, 50% wanted special offers from retailers. That percentage waned to 45% during the May 27-June 3 time frame.  

Contrary to what some believe, 82% of grocery purchases were conducted in-store, and the products were brought home by the consumer. The number ordering online fell from 40% to 22%.

What did go up during that period was information about response to COVID-19 — from 17% to 24%. Also rising was information about retailers protecting their employees — from 21% to 23%.  

How can retailers improve their emails? At 55%, Gen X is most likely to demand special offers. Boomers are next, with 52% and the silent generation third, with 44%. 

In addition, 42% of Gen Y (millennials) want special offers, as do 28% of Gen Z.  

Meanwhile, 77% of consumers are buying groceries at stores. But that’s down from 84% in the April wave.In contrast, only 42% are shopping at department stores, down from 50%. But “club store” purchasing rose from 13% to 29%.  

Restaurants are also well advised to send discounts to consumers by email — 54% of Gen Xers want them as do, 45% of boomers. The silents are least likely, at 30%.

Then there’s travel. Folks in the silent cohort are most likely to travel in the near future — 45% have plans, compared with 33% of boomers, 26% of Gen X, 19% of Gen Y and 11% of Gen Z. 

Maybe it’s because older people can best afford travel — 47% of Gen Xers want discounts by email, along with 41% of boomers, 30% of Gen Y and 24% apiece for Gen Z and the silents. 

Meanwhile, 31% of Gen Y want info on how to cancel travel plans and any new restrictions. So 28% of boomers. Only 19% of silent members desire this. 

Here’s a tip, though: Don’t rely only on email. “It’s important to understand the value of your digital media and loyalty program strategy for encouraging consumers to travel again,” the study notes.  

Epsilon’s Shopper’s Voice is a self-reported database on the market including 20M households, with 3M new respondents per year, 1.5M opted-in active email addresses and 1,000 data points. 

For this research, member households and third-party panel members were segmented by generation.

A random selection by region within each generation was invited to participate in the survey, and the targets balance to reflect male and female respondents. 

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