NPD: Changes in U.S. Consumer Spend of Time and Money Have Just Begun

Anticipate more impacts to retail approaching September and the holiday shopping season, NPD says.
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August 11, 2021

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A third of U.S. consumers say they have been engaging in more experiences such as dining out, attending sporting events, movies and gatherings with friends in the last three months than they did in the prior three months.

In coming months, retail impacts will be felt as consumers are ready for the anticipated return to more “normal” in-person activities, including the start of the school year and returning to the office in some capacity. Looming over the list of factors expected to affect retail in September and beyond are new developments and uncertainty related to the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, which will continue to change the retail dynamic through this period and yet another holiday shopping season.

“These interruptions underscore the importance of not trying to anticipate marketplace activity but rather being nimble in reaction to it,” says Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor, NPD. “Recent results are a prelude to the retail shifts expected over the next few months.

The traditional September lull in retail spending was disrupted in 2020, with an even more dramatic shift expected in 2021 – though the uncertainty surrounding the Delta variant has made the timing and nature of what consumers buy, and where and how they shop, more ambiguous.”

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