How Consumer Spending is Changing this Summer

Now that summertime is upon us, spending is shifting as people adapt to a new normal and try to predict what will happen next.

4 min read

Let’s face it. COVID-19 has changed consumer spending habits — not just what we buy, but also why and how we buy it. In the early days of the pandemic, N26 data showed that grocery purchases increased by 25 percent as people stocked up and hunkered down. Spending on food delivery also increased by 23 percent, while spending on rideshares dropped by 47 percent.

Now that summertime is upon us, consumer spending is shifting again as people adapt with the pandemic and try to predict what will happen next. It’s our mission at N26 to keep you informed of developments that can affect your finances, so you can make the right decisions for your future goals.

How is coronavirus affecting summer spending?


American families often try to go on vacation while school is out, but this year’s summer plans have definitely been more subdued for many. Travel appears to be making a slow comeback, with a 44 percent increase on airline spending and 56 percent increase on car rentals from March to May, although this could reflect optimism towards traveling later in the year.

For those who have been fortunate enough to still have their income, a summer getaway will likely mean staying closer to home due to travel restrictions and social distancing measures. A 48 percent increase in new car spending or car servicing/repair seems to point to a spike in road trips nationwide.

2. Food spending

While historically the summer has been a great time for cooking and grilling, we are for the first time since the beginning of COVID, seeing a decrease in grocery store spending from April to May, showing that people are eating more at restaurants now that they have the option. Also, as the economy continues to re-open, consumers are able go back to more diverse food habits, and seem to be less concerned with stockpiling goods.

3. Reasons to celebrate

While Zoom birthdays and virtual family reunions seem to be the norm these days, people are starting to be a little more optimistic about the potential for in-person special occasions with loved ones. We have seen a 50 percent increase in the creation of special occasion Spaces from March to May, as some states continue to carefully lift restrictions on social gatherings.

4. Summer reading

As the economy continues to recover and more stores begin to open, we have seen retail transactions increase, particularly when it comes to bookstores which saw a bump of 117 percent from April to May. With so many entertainment options still out of reach, it seems like summer reading is going to play a particularly important role this year.

Source: Internal N26 Data

Will consumer spending habits continue to change through the summer?

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on our summer habits, and as the pandemic continues to evolve throughout the country (for better or worse), consumer spending will continue to adjust accordingly.

Based on current spending patterns, we anticipate:

  • People will be spending MORE eating out, traveling, and online shopping, as the country reopens and more social activities become available. Spending will also increase on beauty products and services as establishments begin to reopen after months of closures.

  • People will continue spending LESS money on sporting events, concerts, and other large gatherings as many of these have been cancelled or postponed until next year. Grocery budgets might also continue shrinking as people have the option of visiting their favorite restaurants again.

How can N26 help you spend and save smarter?

The impact on consumer spending may affect how you choose to spend and save your money this year. It’s a good time to reassess your financial habits and prepare for the future.

Spending tips: Track your spending automatically with the N26 app, which categorizes your expenses for you. You can also tag transactions to organize your spending in a way that makes sense to you. Also consider cutting back on any “extras” like clothes, eating out, entertainment, gadgets, or recurring subscriptions like Netflix and Spotify? Our app helps you keep everything in perspective.

Saving tips: What is your number one savings goal? Visualize it with N26 Spaces. Spaces lets you create personalized sub-accounts, set savings targets, and transfer money with a single swipe. So start saving today with N26.

The N26 account is offered by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. N26 Inc. is a service provider of Axos Bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at Axos Bank are combined and insured under the same FDIC Certificate 35546. All deposit accounts through Axos Bank brands are not separately insured by the FDIC from other deposit accounts held with the same ownership and/or vesting at Axos Bank. The N26 Visa® Debit Card is issued by Axos Bank pursuant to a license by Visa U.S.A. Inc. The N26 Visa Debit Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

By N26

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