In March 2021, KPMG polled 1000 consumers across the U.S. to learn about the continuing economic impact of COVID-19, consumer sentiment reservation around economic recovery, implications of work from home, and vaccine impact on travel.
As the U.S. economy heats up, consumers respond—cautiously.
Conditioned by 14 months of sobering economic and health news, household financial impact, and workplace and schooling restrictions, consumers are responding with both optimism and wariness.
Improved household outlooks, but reservations about general economic recovery
The percentage reporting negative economic impact on their household has come down from a year ago, but more than a quarter say full U.S. economic recovery will take more than two years.
In our Spring 2021 survey, only 14 percent of consumers said they expect economic recovery from COVID-19 within 6 months. A year ago, when lockdowns were first enacted, 17 percent of survey respondents expected recovery within 6 months.
Twenty-seven percent of consumers we surveyed in March expect economic recovery to take 2 years or more. This percentage is up significantly from a year ago, when only 17% expected to wait 2 or more years for recovery.
Cognitive dissonace: Spending is up, along with long-term uncertainty.
For the first time in a year, consumers report increases in spending across both discretionary and essential retail. Sentiments about the eventual return of pre-COVID spending levels are mixed.