Insight

Consumer pulse survey report | Winter 2021

Bright spots emerge as consumers show signs of a return to discretionary spending.

Scott Rankin

Scott Rankin

National Advisory Leader, Consumer & Retail, KPMG LLP

+1 617-988-1474

Matt Kramer

Matt Kramer

National Sector Leader, Consumer & Retail, KPMG LLP

+1 614-241-4666

Julia Wilson

Julia Wilson

Managing Director, Deal Advisory, KPMG US

+1 404-222-3511

In January 2021, KPMG polled 1000 consumers across the U.S. to learn about the effects of COVID-19 on their income, employment, sentiments around the economy, purchasing preferences, and predictions for spending across grocery, apparel and home improvement.

Conservative optimism on the road to recovery

Most consumers still believe that economic recovery will take longer than initially expected. However, spending across categories may return sooner than the full recovery. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of our survey respondents expect to spend at pre-COVID-19 levels within 6 month, and another 26% expect to spend at that level within a year. 

 

60%

 

Only about 60 percent of consumers we surveyed in January expect economic recovery from COVID-19 in less than 2 years.


69%

 

Consumers in our January survey are slightly more optimistic about their return to pre-COVID-19 levels of spending. Sixty-nine percent expect their own spending recovery within 2 years. 

 

Notes:  (a)   KPMG conducted four surveys of 1,000 consumers across the United States and in all instances they were asked the questions,  “When COVID-19 is under control, how long do you think it will take for the overall economy to rebound to pre-COVID-19 levels?”and “When COVID-19 is under control, how long do you think it will take for your spending to return to pre-COVID-19 levels?”

Sources:  (1)   KPMG Consumer survey, fielded January 8, 2021 – January 15, 2021

High spend on groceries continues for another season

In the grocery category, we found that consumers have always preferred having either a primary grocery store only, or a primary and secondary grocery store, but during COVID-19, many more have gravitated towards that primary grocery store instead of purchasing at multiple places. Fifty-five percent (55%) of consumers said a grocer’s loyalty program is extremely important or important in deciding on where to shop. Eighty-four percent (84%) of consumers surveyed had shopped for groceries online since October. 

On average, across generations and income levels, consumers expect to spend 29% more on groceries in the coming months than they did prior to COVID-19. Millennials and high income households project the highest increases in spend.

Grocery spend increase by age

 

Generation Z  +33% 
Millennial +39%
Generation X +31%
Baby boomer + +17%


Grocery spend increase by income level

 

Less than $50,000 +27% 
$50,000 to $100,000 +28%
$100,000 to $200,000 +36%
$200,000 +
+39%

 

Notes:  (a)   KPMG conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers across the United States and asked, “Prior to COVID-19, please estimate your annual grocery budget” and “How much do you think your monthly household spend on [groceries] will change over the next 3 months (i.e., Winter 2021) compared to last Winter (i.e., Winter 2020)?”; (b) Age ranges for each generation as follows: Gen Z = 9-24; Millennial = 25-40; Gen X = 41-56; Baby Boomer + = 57+

Sources:  (1)   KPMG Consumer survey, January 8, 2021 – January 15, 2021

Apparel shopping frequency remains low, but spend is expected to increase over last winter's levels

The majority of consumers in our survey that have shopped online for apparel since October are purchasing from the same retailers online that they used to shop in-store. Discount stores and mass market retailers are reported to be the most commonly shopped during COVID-19.
 

On average, across generations and income levels, consumers expect to spend 11% more on apparel in Winter 2021 than they did in Winter 2020. Only the Baby Boomer+ consumer segment is expecting to decrease apparel spend.

Apparel spend increase by age

 

Generation Z  +22% 
Millennial +28%
Generation X +7%
Baby boomer + -6%


Apparel spend increase by income level

 

Less than $50,000 +7% 
$50,000 to $100,000 +10%
$100,000 to $200,000 +23%
$200,000 +
+33%

 

Notes:   (a)  KPMG conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers across the United States and in all instances they were asked the question, “How much do you think your monthly household spend on each of the product / service categories below will change over the next 3 months (i.e., winter 2021) compared to last winter (i.e., winter 2020)?”; (b) Age ranges for each generation as follows: Gen Z = 9-24; Millennial = 25-40; Gen X = 41-56; Baby Boomer + = 57+

Sources: (1)   KPMG Consumer survey, January 8, 2021 – January 15, 2021

COVID-19 home improvement projects

Survey results indicate that more than 42% of survey respondents have completed some kind of home improvement project during COVID-19. The most common projects are painting and flooring. Prevalent rationales for undertaking projects were found to be having extra time or wanting something to do instead of traveling.

All top 10 home improvement activities are expected to grow in 2021 beyond 2020 levels.

Home improvement projects in 2020 and planned for 2021

 

 Notes:  (a)   KPMG conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers across the United States and asked, “What projects do you have planned for 2021?”

Sources:  (1)   KPMG Consumer survey, January 8, 2021 – January 15, 2021

The KPMG consumer pulse survey series explores key, emerging themes around consumer behaviors, purchasing patterns and the economy. Each survey asks 1,000 U.S. consumers, representing all demographics, timely questions about upcoming purchases and economic conditions. We conduct the surveys to help our clients understand consumers, uncover the signals of permanent change and create basis for transforming their businesses to meet customers where they are.

KPMG Consumer pulse survey report | Winter 2021
Bright spots emerge as consumers show signs of a return to discretionary spending.