How We Spent Our Money in 2020

More paint jobs, fewer pantsuits. More meal kits, fewer manicures.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives and altered our spending patterns. Americans are staying home more, traveling less and occupying themselves in different ways. The Wall Street Journal analyzed credit-card data from Earnest Research to understand and document the shifts in food, clothing and entertainment purchases over the past year.


Food-delivery spending has more than doubled compared with a year earlier, and all major delivery companies saw revenue swell. Meanwhile, fine-dining restaurants—especially local eateries—continue to struggle, despite some places building elaborate outdoor dining setups to lure customers, including single-table igloos.

When the pandemic set in, Americans stocked up on supplies, prompting a surge in spending at supermarkets and with online grocers. By late spring, interest also grew in meal-kit delivery kits.

Clothing and Self Care

After an initial plunge in clothes, consumers invested more in athletic and athleisure apparel. And with a significant percentage of office workers still working from home, spending on professional attire and footwear has remained low.

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