Stimulus Checks: Boosting the Economy?

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In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed a $2 trillion economic stabilization package in late March, which offered direct payments and jobless benefits to individuals, money for states, and a huge bailout fund for businesses, among other things. 

Our analysis focuses on the direct stimulus payouts that the IRS began delivering to taxpayers on April 11th. Through April 22, we have nearly 50% of panelists in the data* who have received stimulus payouts. We cohorted this group in order to understand how and where these payouts are currently impacting consumer spending. Here’s what we found.

Key takeaways

  • Total consumer spending grew 8.5% YoY in the week ending 4/22. This was largely driven by the cohort that received the stimulus, whose spending grew 26.0% YoY, an acceleration of 23 points from the prior week, while the rest of the panel saw their spending decline 6.5% YoY, an acceleration of 5 points from the prior week.
  • Home Improvement, Ecommerce Platforms, and Restaurant Delivery saw the highest impact, with a 40% ‘lift’ in growth. On the other end, Travel, Fitness, and Leisure, as well as Grocers and Department Stores saw a 5% or lower lift in growth from the stimulus. 
  • North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Texas saw the highest lift; New York, Illinois, and California saw the lowest.
  • For nearly 70% of recipients, the stimulus check amounted to less than 50% of their monthly income; it amounted to over 80% for just 5% of recipients.

Lift is calculated as the total spending growth for the entire panel minus the growth for those that did not receive the stimulus. This captures, in other words, how much the cohort of people who received the stimulus ‘lifted’ overall growth.

Spending Growth Lifted 15%

With such an unprecedented size and scope of the stimulus’ reach, we looked at over a thousand retailers to analyze the impact of the stimulus on spending. Total spending growth in aggregate of these merchants (see Appendix) was -4.5% YoY and +8.5% YoY in the most recent two weeks, respectively. However, this was largely driven by the cohort that received the stimulus, whose spending growth was +3.2% and +26.0% in those weeks, respectively, vs. the rest of the panel’s -11.4% and -6.5%, respectively. 

Put another way, total spending growth of 8.5% in the most recent week was lifted 15% (8.5% less -6.5%) because of the cohort’s strong growth of 26.0%.

Spending Lift By Vertical

To further understand where the stimulus payouts were reaching the most, we calculated this lift in growth from the stimulus for various verticals. Home Improvement, Ecommerce Platforms, and Restaurant Delivery saw the highest impact, with a 40% lift in growth. On the other end, Travel, Fitness, and Leisure, as well as Grocers and Department Stores saw a 5% or less lift in growth from the stimulus. 

Spending Lift By State

We calculated the stimulus lift by state in order to understand how far and wide it is spreading. Focusing on the top ten states in the data in terms of total spending in the most recent week, the states that saw the highest lift in spending growth driven by the stimulus cohort include North Carolina (20%), Florida (18%), Georgia (17%), and Texas (17%). The states that saw the least lift include New York (7%), Illinois (9%), and California(10%).

Is $1200 Enough?

Are the stimulus checks enough to keep finances afloat? We looked at the monthly income of the stimulus recipients, and calculated what percent their payout sizes represent. For 9% of recipients, stimulus checks represent less than 20% of one’s monthly income. For most recipients (59% of them), however, payouts represent 20% to 49% of one’s income. The remaining one-third of recipients have seen their checks amount to over 50% of their income, but only 5% are seeing it amount to over 80%.

Monthly income calculated as trailing 12 months ending February 2020 divided by 12.


Lift is calculated as the total spending growth for the entire panel minus the growth for those that did not receive the stimulus. This captures, in other words, how much the cohort of people who received the stimulus ‘lifted’ overall growth.

*The data is limited to direct deposits and does not include mailed stimulus checks. The data under-represents single filers, as it exhibits a total average stimulus payout of $2440, or 36% higher than the IRS’ reported $1792. Further, our logic focuses on the specified amounts per filing type (single, married, married with children etc.) and excludes the potential $5 incremental deductions, in order to accurately reflect stimulus payments and minimize noise in the data. We estimate that our logic captures ~90% of payments in the data. 

**Distribution excludes ~3% of recipients whose stimulus checks amount to over 100% of their monthly income.

Appendix – List of Merchants by Category

Apparel: 2UNDR,, & Other Stories, Abercrombie, Adidas, Adore Me, Aerie, Aeropostale, Aldo, Allbirds, Alton Lane, Altra, America’s Best, American Eagle, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Aritzia, Ashley Stewart, Asics, Asos, Athleta, AUrate New York, Away, Babies ”R” Us,, Balenciaga, Banana Republic, Bandier, Barclay Jewelers, Bare Necessities, Bargain Catalog Outlet, Baskins, BCBG, Ben Bridge, Bespoke Post, Betsey Johnson, Betteridge, BHLDN, Blondo, Blue Nile, Bluffworks, Bombas, Bonobos, Boohoo, Boot Barn, Brandy Melville, Brian Atwood, Brideside, Brooks Brothers, Buckle, Burberry, BVLGARI, Calvin Klein, Canada Goose, Carter’s, Cartier, Casual Male XL, Catherines, Cato, Cavender’s, Champs, Chanel, Charlotte Russe, Charming Charlie, Chico’s, Chubbies Shorts, Citi Trends, Claire’s, Club Monaco, Coach, Cole Haan, Columbia Sportswear, Converse, Cos, Cotton On, Country Outfitter, Crocs, Cupshe, DAILYLOOK, Dakota Watch, David Yurman, David’s Bridal, Deckers Generic, Destination XL, Dior, Dolce Vita, Dolls Kill, Dressbarn, Drysdales, DSW, Duluth Trading Company, Eagle Creek, Eastbay, Eddie Bauer, Ellos, EVEREVE, Everlane, Express, Eye Safety Systems, Eyemart Express, Fabletics, Fame & Partners, Famous Footwear, Fanatics, Farfetch, Fashion Nova, Fashion to Figure, Felix Gray, Ferragamo, FIGS, Fila Outlet, Final-Score, Finish Line, Fit2Run, Foot Locker, Footaction, Forever 21, Forward, Fossil, Francesca’s, Free People, Fruit of the Loom,, Gap, Generation Tux, Gilt Groupe, Giorgio Armani,, GlassesUSA, GoJane, Goodwill, Gucci, GUESS, Gymshark, H&M, Hanes, Helzberg Diamonds, Hermes, Hill City, Hoka, Hollister, Hot Topic, Huckberry, Hugo Boss, Hurley, Hush Puppies, Icebreaker, Icing, Ilori, Indochino, Intermix, It’s Fashion, Ivivva, J.Crew, J.Jill, JackRabbit, James Allen, Jansport, Jared, Jessica London, Jimmy Choo, Jockey, Johnston & Murphy, Jomashop, Jos. A. Bank, Joseph Abboud, Journeys, JTV, JustFab, Justice, K&G Fashion Superstore, Kate Spade, Kay Jewelers, Keds, Kendra Scott Design, King Size, Kipling, Kit and Ace, Kmart, L.L. Bean, LA Police Gear, Lands’ End, Lane Bryant, Lee Jeans, Lenscrafters, Levi’s, Lids, Lilly Pulitzer, Littman Jewelers, Loft, London Jewelers, Lone Star Western & Casual, Louis Vuitton, Lucy Activewear, LuLaRoe, Lululemon, M. Gemi, Mack Weldon, Madewell, Maidenform, MATCHESFASHION, Maurices, Mayvenn, Men’s Wearhouse, Merrell, MeUndies, Michael Kors, Missguided, Modcloth, Moncler, MR PORTER, Mytheresa, Nasty Gal, Nautica, NET-A-PORTER, New York & Company, Nike, NIQUEA.D, NOBULL, North Face, Nuuly, Oakley, Of a Kind, Old Navy, Oliver Peoples, Omega, OROS Apparel, Pacific Sunwear, Pandora Jewelry, Patriot Outfitters, Payless ShoeSource, Pearle Vision, Poshmark, Prada, Printify, Puma, Pura Vida Bracelets, Qalo, Rainbow, Rainbow Shops, Ralph Lauren, Ray Ban, Reebok, Reeds Jewelers, Reef, Rent the Runway, Revolve, Roaman’s, Rochester Clothing, Rocksbox, Romwe, Rothy’s, Rue La La, Rue21, Samsonite, Sanuk, Saucony, Savers, SAXX Underwear Co., Scrubs, Sears Optical, Sheplers, Shinola, Shoe Carnival, ShoeBuy, ShoeDazzle, Shopbop, Six:02, Skechers USA, Smartwool, Soma, SPANX, Spencer’s, Stance, Sterling Regional, Steve Madden, Stitch Fix, StockX, Stride Rite, Stuart Weitzman, Suit Supply, Summersalt, Sunglass Hut, Superga, Swatch, Swimsuits For All, Tailgate Clothing, Talbots, Tamara Mellon, Target Optical, Tecovas, Teva, The Black Tux, The Children’s Place, THE OUTNET, The RealReal, ThirdLove, thredUP, Thursday Boot Co., Tiffany & Co., Tilly’s, Timberland, Timex, Tommy Bahama, Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy John, TOMS, Torrid, Tory Burch, Tourbillon, Tourneau, True & Co, True Religion, Trunk Club, TUMI, U.S. Patriot Tactical, Ugg, Under Armour, Uniform Advantage, Uniqlo, Unique, Urban Outfitters, Value Village, Vans, Vera Bradley, Versace, Versona, VF Outlet, Vici, Victoria’s Secret, Visionworks, VKTRY, Wacoal, Warby Parker, Watch Station, White House Black Market, Williamson-Dickie, Wolverine World Wide, Woman Within, Wood’s Boots, Wrangler, Yandy, YOOX, ZAFUL, Zappos, Zara USA, Zumiez.

Department Stores: Bealls, Belk, Bergdorf Goodman, Bergner’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Burlington Stores, Carson’s, Century 21, cusp, Dd’s Discounts, Dillard’s, Elder-Beerman, Goody’s, Herberger’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Last Call, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Marshalls, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Full Price, Nordstrom Off Price, Nordstrom Store Card, Off/Aisle, Palais Royal, Peebles, Ross Stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th, Sears, Shipt, Sierra Trading Post, Stage Stores, Stein Mart, T.J. Maxx, Younkers,  

Ecommerce Platforms: Amazon, Etsy, PayPal, Shopify Payments, Stripe.

Fitness: 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Barry’s Bootcamp, Blink Fitness, Classpass, Crunch Fitness, DailyBurn, Equinox, Exhale, Fitbit, Flywheel, Gold’s Gym, LA Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Miraval, Mirror, MyFitnessPal, Nautilus, Orangetheory, Peloton, Planet Fitness, ProForm, Pure Barre, Retro Fitness, ROMWOD, Rumble, Runkeeper, SoulCycle, Strava, WayBetter, YMCA, YogaWorks, Youfit.

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

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

Hobbies and Toys: A.C. Moore, Ben Franklin Crafts, BLICK Art Materials, Blizzard Entertainment, Borrow Lenses, Build-A-Bear Workshop, DistroKid, DraftKings, Electronic Arts, Epic Games Other, Epic Games Store, Erin Condren, FAO Schwarz, Fortnite, Funko, Guitar Center, Hobby Lobby, Jerry’s Artarama, Jo-Ann Stores, Lifetouch, Lovepop, Magic: The Gathering Arena, Michaels Stores, Music & Arts, Musician’s Friend, Niantic, Nintendo, Pat Catan’s, Playstation Network, Riot Games, Roblox, Rovio, Scopely, Steam, Toys ”R” Us, Twitch, Ubisoft, Unreal Engine, Vistaprint, Xbox Store, Zwift, Zynga. 

Home Furnishing: Aaron Brothers, American Frame, American Signature, Arhaus, Art Van, Artifact Uprising, Ashley Furniture, At Home, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bedjet, Big Lots, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Brylane Home, CanvasPop, Casper, CB2, Chef Central, Chefs Catalog,, Crane & Canopy, Crate & Barrel, Decorist, Everything But The House, Framebridge, GhostBed, Gordmans, Grove Collaborative, Havertys, Helix Sleep, Home Reserve, HomeGoods, HomeSense, Horchow, Houzz, Kirkland’s, La-Z-Boy (LZB),  Leesa, Mark and Graham, Mattress Firm, MightyNest, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, One Kings Lane, Personalization Mall, Pier 1 Imports, Pottery Barn, Purple, Raymour & Flanigan, Rejuvenation, Restoration Hardware, Rooms To Go, Rove Concepts, Ruggable, Saatva, Sealy Cocoon, Sleep Number, Sleep Train, Sleepy’s, Sur La Table, Tempur-Pedic, Terrain, The Citizenry, The Container Store, The RoomPlace, The Sill, Tuesday Morning, Tuft & Needle, Value City, Waterworks, Wayfair, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma, World Market.

Home Improvement: Abacus Plumbing, Ace Hardware, All Around Landscape Supply, All Pro Horticulture, Allied Building Products, Alterra, American Builders, Angelo’s Supply, Aspen Valley Landscape,, Atlantic Irrigation, Auto-Rain Supply, Bissett Nursery,, Boston Irrigation Supply,, C&C Sand and Stone, Calloway’s Nursery,, Central Pump and Supply, Comex, Cutting Edge, Do it Best, Fastenal, FilterEasy, Floor & Decor, Green Resource, Harbor Freight Tools, Harmony Gardens, HD Supply, Home Decorators, Homee, Hydro-Scape Products, KeyMe, Kirkwood Material Supply, Landscape Express, Landscaper’s Choice, LawnStarter, Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies, Lowe’s, Marshall Stone, Menards, Northwest Exterminating, Northwest Marble, Orchard Supply Hardware, Orkin Pest Control, Plowz & Mowz, Rural King, Shemin Nurseries, Sherwin Williams, SiteOne Landscape Supply, Solar City, South Coast Supply, Southwood Valley Turf, Stanley Black & Decker, Stone Center, Sunrun, The Home Depot,, Tractor Supply, TrueValue, TruGreen, Village Nurseries, Zoro Tools.

Leisure: Acme Technologies, Adventure Island, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, AMC, AMF, Animal Kingdom, Aquatica, Atom Tickets, AXS, Bowlero, Bowlmor, BrunswickZone, Busch Gardens, Carowinds, Castaway Bay, Cedar Point, Century Theatre, Cinemark, Darien Lake, Dave & Buster’s, Discovery Cove, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Dorney Park, Epcot, Eventbrite, Everfest, Fandango, Frontier City, Gilroy Gardens, Great America, Groupon, Hunt A Killer, Kings Dominion, Kings Island, Knotts Berry, Liftopia, Live Nation, LivingSocial, Lucky Strike, Magic Kingdom, Main Event, Michigans Adventure, Pinstripes, Punch Bowl Social, Rave, Reading International, Redbox, Regal Cinemas, Round One, San Diego Zoo, Schlitterbahn, SeatGeek, Seaworld, Sesame Place, Sinemia, Six Flags, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord, StubHub, Ticketmaster, TickPick, Tinseltown USA, tixr, TodayTix, Topgolf, Universal Studios, Valleyfair, Viagogo, Water Country, White Water Bay, Worlds of Fun.

Meal Kits: Blue Apron, Dinnerly, Freshly, Green Chef, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Purple Carrot, Sun Basket.

Online Grocers: Amazon Fresh, FoodKick, Fresh Direct, HEB To You, Instacart Purchase, Peapod, Walmart Online Grocery.

Pets: Banfield, Chewy, Pet Supplies Plus, Pet Valu, Petco, PetFirst Healthcare, PetMed Express, Petsense, PetSmart, PrettyLitter, PuppySpot, Trupanion, VetSource, VIP Petcare, WagWalking.

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

Restaurant Delivery: Caviar,, DoorDash, GrubHub and Seamless, Postmates, UberEATS, Waitr.

Sporting Goods: Academy Sports & Outdoors, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, City Gear, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, Gander Outdoors, Golf Galaxy, Hibbett Sports, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Moosejaw, Mystery Tackle Box, Razor, REI Coop, Sportsman’s Warehouse, SquadLocker, Tackle Warehouse.

Streaming: AT&T TV NOW, Bandcamp, CBS All Access, Crunchyroll, Disney+, ESPN+, FloSports, fuboTV, Gaia, Google Play Music, HBO Now, Hulu, Itunes, Living Scriptures, Netflix, NFHS Network, Philo, Plex, Pure Flix, Showtime Networks, SiriusXM, Slacker Radio, Smule, Splice, Spotify, TiVo, VidAngel, Vudu, World Wrestling Entertainment.

Travel: AC Hotels by Marriott, Airbnb, Alamo Rent a Car, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Aloft Hotels, American Airlines, AmericInn, Andaz, Avis, Baymont, Best Western, Budget, Budget Truck, Cambria Hotels, Canopy, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Clarion, Classic Vacation, Comfort Inn, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard, Crowne Plaza, Cunard, Days Inn, Delta Airlines, Delta Hotels, Disney Cruise Line, Dollar Rent A Car, DoubleTree, Econo Lodge, EDITION, Egencia, Embassy Suites, Enterprise, Enterprise CarShare, Expedia, Fairfield by Marriott, Four Points, Gaylord Hotels, Grand Hyatt, Hampton, Hawthorn, Hertz, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resort, Holland America Line, Home2 Suites, HomeAway, Homewood Suites, Hotel Indigo,,, Howard Johnson, Hyatt, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt House, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Regency, InterContinental, JetBlue, JW Marriott, Kimpton, La Quinta, Le Meridien, Mainstay Suites, Marriott Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club, Megabus, Microtel, Moxy Hotels, National Car Rental, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Orbitz, Park Hyatt, Payless Car,, Princess Cruises, Quality Inn, Ramada, Regent Seven Seas, Renaissance Hotels, Residence Inn, Rodeway Inn, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Seabourn, Sheraton, Silversea Cruises, Sleep Inn, Southwest, Spirit Airlines, SpringHill Suites, St. Regis, Suburban Extended Stay, Super 8, The Luxury Collection, The Ritz-Carlton, Thrifty Car, TownePlace Suites, Travelocity, Travelodge, Tru, Trump Hotels, TRYP, United Airlines, W  Hotels, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Westin, Wingate, Woodspring Suites,  Wyndham, Wyndham Garden, Wyndham Grand, Zipcar.

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