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U.S. Consumer Spending During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

The pandemic drove unprecedented growth in emerging commerce and payment approaches.

Boston, December 16, 2021 — The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our lives since March 2020. State and local governments closed schools, parks, shops, restaurants, and offices, and encouraged citizens to stay at home as much as possible to reduce the spread of infection. Most daily activities—school, shopping, commuting, travel—stopped with very little warning, and consumers and businesses were forced to rapidly shift their purchasing activities.

“Consumer spending across many categories has largely recovered to pre-pandemic levels, with some (e.g., pizza) remaining at elevated spend levels and others (e.g., cruise travel) recovering more slowly,” explains Aite-Novarica Group Strategic Advisor Ginger Schmeltzer. “Overall, consumer spending has remained strong throughout the four waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, assisted for many consumers by stimulus and enhanced unemployment benefits,” she says.

This Impact Report takes a deep dive into consumer spending patterns starting before the pandemic and continuing into the summer of 2021. It is based on data collected by Facteus and on market intelligence and insights developed by Aite-Novarica Group from previous research and third-party public sources.

To request a press copy of this report or to speak with Ginger Schmeltzer about this topic, please contact us at

About Aite-Novarica Group:

Aite-Novarica Group is an advisory firm providing mission-critical insights on technology, regulations, strategy, and operations to hundreds of banks, insurers, payments providers, and investment firms—as well as the technology and service providers that support them. Comprising former senior technology, strategy, and operations executives as well as experienced researchers and consultants, our experts provide actionable advice to our client base, leveraging deep insights developed via our extensive network of clients and other industry contacts. Visit us on the web and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Kaitlyn Labbe

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