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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

June 2, 2020

Financially Speaking - Comfort Buying to Relieve Stress and Boredom

Submitted by Cindy Williams

If it feels like your shopping habits have changed during this time of crisis, you may be correct. WalletHub recently reported results of a nationally representative online survey exploring how Americans’ shopping habits have evolved during this time of crisis. The survey was conducted April 7, 2020 to April 14, 2020.

A key finding is that some Americans are actually spending more money while social distancing, despite being able to go out less. According to WalletHub, this is in large part because many people are engaging in “comfort buying”—or shopping as a way to relieve stress and boredom. In fact, 43% of survey respondents reported some comfort buying during the pandemic. Entertainment, alcohol, clothing, beauty products and electronics were among the most popular nonessential purchases. While Americans are shopping more, 57% reported being concerned about package deliveries. In addition, 60% reported being concerned about the safety of having food delivered during the pandemic.

Not everyone is shopping more though. An equal number of survey respondents said they prefer a comfort animal or comfort savings over comfort shopping. When asked if they are overspending on non-essential items during the pandemic, 80% said they were not.

At the height of the period of safer at home guidelines, online sales soared. People ordering online and picking items up in person increased 208% from April 1, 2020 to April 20, 2020 compared to same period in 2019. This spike in online sales has been interpreted as an expected effect of the offline economy being absorbed into the online one.

Learn more at https://wallethub.com/blog/coronavirus-shopping-survey/73706/#.

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