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The Consumer Sentiment Study: Post-lockdown edition

Marcus, by Goldman Sachs

Individuals 10.29.2020 3 MIN READ


As the country slowly emerges from months of unprecedented lockdown, we reached out to consumers to understand how the pandemic has impacted their personal finances, spending habits and future outlook. Here are the key results from our study.

This Consumer Sentiment Study was fielded amidst extraordinary circumstances, from the continued spread of COVID-19 to global protests around racial injustice. Further, it was recently confirmed by the National Bureau of Economic Research that the United States officially entered a recession in February of this year as the pandemic crippled the economy. This study tracks the effects of these historic events on consumer behavior. 

Current state of finances

We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you are better off or worse off financially than you were six months ago?

  • More than three-quarters of Americans (77%) feel they are the same or worse off financially than they were six months ago.

Future finances

Now looking ahead—do you think that six months from now you will be better off financially, or worse off, or just about the same as now?

  • Almost a third of Americans (32%) think that in six months from now they will be better off financially than they are now.

Returning to “normal”

How long do you think it will be before you feel comfortable returning to certain activities?

  • Americans think it will take less than a year before they feel comfortable returning to activities such as: shopping at brick-and-mortar store locations (77%), followed by dining out at restaurants (74%) and going to a live sporting event or concert with a large crowd (51%).

Compared to your pre-COVID behavior, how do you anticipate that your spending will change in the following areas in the coming months?

  • Americans anticipate spending the same or more on things like clothes, shoes, jewelry, or other similar items (64%); dining out at restaurants (53%); and domestic travel (52%).

Predictions on the economy

How long do you think it will take for the U.S. economy to make a full recovery and return to pre-COVID-19 levels of activity?

  • One in four Americans (25%) think that it will take the U.S. economy 6-12 months to make a full recovery and return to pre-COVID-19 levels of activity.

The Consumer Sentiment Study is a quarterly survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, which aims to track Americans’ perception of current and future financial climates, market conditions and plans for their money. This installment of The Consumer Sentiment Survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample (using U.S. Census data) of 1,501 Americans. The survey was conducted June 22-25, 2020.




For disclosures relating to this article, please click here.