Coronavirus is Changing How We Spend Money.


Ever since the coronavirus was first reported, there has been a growing interest in understanding how it will influence consumer spending. Using consumer spend data, we analyzed how the outbreak is affecting relevant merchants and industry verticals. As we ingest more data, we will be refreshing and expanding our analysis in the coming weeks.

Stocking Up

Across 300+ select merchants*, spending has grown 4.4% YoY in the last week of February, a 2 point acceleration from a slow prior week (likely due to President’s Day). This growth is in line with the ~3 to 6% YoY weekly growth rate that our data has shown since the beginning of the year. 

General Merchandise has grown ~3% YoY in the last week of February from its usual flat to ~3% YoY declines observed earlier this year. We anticipate this category to pop in the coming days. Grocers and Food Delivery are seeing signs of an uptick while Restaurants appear to be slowing down heading into March. Travel**, the hardest-hit category, has seen its growth decline to over 10% YoY from its usual mid to high single-digit growth profile. E-commerce hasn’t shown any meaningful variance just yet. 

Geo: It’s Spreading

Following an increase in the reported number of cases through the end of February and into March, General Merchandise sales growth spiked in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and New York compared to the rest of the country. We will be monitoring to what extent this stocking up behavior will spread city to city.

Average Ticket Driving Growth

The average ticket in the General Merchandise and Grocers verticals increased due to consumers preparing for a supply shortage or a self-quarantine. The week ending March 2nd shows the highest average ticket since the beginning of the year, with General Merchandise and Grocers climbing to $53, relative to a prior average of $46 and $49, respectively. 

(No) Travel

Within the Travel vertical, we are seeing a slowdown in every subcategory. Airlines, OTAs, and Cruise Lines have seen dramatic declines in bookings since the third week of February and continuing on into March, with ~15 to 20% YoY declines for the week ending March 2nd. Hotels, the second to largest Travel subcategory in this sample, slowed to zero growth last week from mid to high single-digit growth. We expect these declines to continue over the coming weeks. 


**Note that this data captures travel bookings, not actual travel of individuals. 

*Appendix – list of merchants by vertical

Airlines: United Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Allegiant Air, Alaska Airlines.

Cruise Lines: Silversea Cruises, Seabourn, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Princess Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Disney Cruise Line, Cunard, Carnival Cruise Line.

Hotels: Wyndham Grand, Wyndham Garden, Wyndham, Woodspring Suites, Wingate, Westin, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels, TRYP, Trump Hotels, Tru, Travelodge, TownePlace Suites, The Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection, Super 8, Suburban Extended Stay, St. Regis, SpringHill Suites, Sleep Inn, Sheraton, Rodeway Inn, Residence Inn, Renaissance Hotels, Ramada, Quality Inn, Park Hyatt, Moxy Hotels, Microtel, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Hotels, Mainstay Suites, Le Meridien, La Quinta, Kimpton, JW Marriott, InterContinental, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt, Howard Johnson, Hotel Indigo,  Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, Holiday Inn Resort, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton, Hampton, Grand Hyatt, Gaylord Hotels, Four Points, Fairfield by Marriott, Exhale Embassy Suites, EDITION, Econo Lodge, DoubleTree, Delta Hotels, Days Inn, Crowne Plaza, Courtyard, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Comfort Inn, Clarion Canopy, Cambria Hotels, Best Western, Baymont, Andaz, AmericInn, Aloft Hotels, Airbnb, AC Hotels by Marriott.

OTAs: Travelocity,, Orbitz,, , HomeAway, Expedia, Egencia, Classic Vacation.

Rental Cars: Zipcar, Thrifty Car, Payless Car, National Car Rental, Megabus, Hertz, Enterprise CarShare, Enterprise, Dollar Rent A Car, Budget Truck, Budget, Avis, Alamo Rent a Car.

Food Delivery: Walmart online grocery, Waitr, Uber Eats, Sunbasket, Purple Carrot, Postmates, Plated, Peapod, Instacart, Home Chef, Hello Fresh, Heb To You, Grubhub Seamless, Green Chef, Freshly, Fresh Direct, Foodkick, Doordash, Dinnerly,, Caviar, Brandless, Blue Apron, Amazon Fresh.

General Merchandise: Walmart, Walgreens, Vudu, Target, Sam’s Club, Rite Aid, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Murphy USA, Holiday Station Stores, Family Dollar, Duane Reade, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, CVS, Costco Ex Gas, Corner Store, Circle K, Casey’s General Store, BJ’s Ex Fuel, 99 Cents Only Stores, 7-Eleven.

Grocers: Winn-Dixie, WinCo Foods, Whole Foods Market, Weis Markets, Wegmans, Vons, Trader Joe’s, Tom Thumb Supermarkets, The Fresh Market, Stop & Shop, Stater Bros. Markets, Sprouts Farmers Market, Smith’s, Smart & Final, ShopRite, Shaws, Schnucks, Save Mart Supermarkets, Safeway, Ralphs, Raley’s, QFC, Publix, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Meijer, Market Basket, Mariano’s, Lucky’s Market, Lowes Foods, Lidl, Kroger, King Soopers, King Kullen, Key Food, Jewel-Osco, Ingles Markets, Hy-Vee, HEB, Harris Teeter, Hannaford, Grocery Outlet, Giant Landover, Giant Eagle, Giant Carlisle, Fry’s, Fred Meyer, Food Lion, Food 4 Less, Fairway Market, Dillons, Cumberland Farms, Central Market, Aldi, Albertson’s, Acme.

Restaurants: Zoe’s Kitchen, Zaxby’s, Yard House, Wingstop, Whataburger, Wendy’s, Waffle House, Twin Peaks, Torchys, TGI Fridays, Texas Roadhouse, Taco Cabana, Taco Bell, sweetgreen, Subway, Starbucks, Sonic Drive-In, Shake Shack, Schlotzsky’s, Ruth’s Chris, Ruby Tuesday, Red Robin, Red Lobster, Raising Cane’s, Qdoba, Pret A Manger, Potbelly, Portillo’s, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Pizza Hut, Peet’s Coffee, Papa Murphy’s, Papa John’s, Panera Bread,  Panda Express, P.F. Chang’s, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Noodles, Moe’s Southwest Grill, MISSION BBQ, Miller’s Ale House, Mellow Mushroom, McDonald’s, McAlister’s Deli, Marco’s Pizza, Maggiano’s Little Italy, LongHorn Steakhouse, Little Caesars, Krispy Kreme, KFC, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Jason’s Deli, Jack in the Box, In-N-Out Burger, IHOP, Hooters, Hardee’s, Habit Restaurants, Golden Corral, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Five Guys, Firehouse Subs, El Pollo Loco, Dutch Bros. Coffee, Dunkin’ Brands, Domino’s Pizza, Denny’s, Del Taco, Dairy Queen, Culver’s, Cracker Barrel, Cold Stone Creamery, Chuy’s, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Chipotle, Chili’s, Chick-fil-A, Cheesecake Factory, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Carls Jr, California Pizza Kitchen, Burger King, Buffalo Wild Wings, Bonefish Grill, Bojangles’, Blaze Pizza, BJ’s Restaurants, Arby’s, Applebee’s.

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