We evaluate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer spending using daily card transaction data. Overall, we find large effects of this pandemic on sectors such as accommodations and restaurants, which by the second week of March, show declines of around 80 percent and 70 percent, respectively. However, these declines were partly offset by the large 100 percent immediate increase in food and beverage store sales. For select goods and services in our data, we find an aggregate decline in spending of around 13.7 percent for March, and we estimate an aggregate “pandemic effect”—the effect of the pandemic on consumer spending after mitigation measures have had time to take hold—of around –27.8 percent.
Abe C. Dunn , Kyle K. Hood , and Alexander Driessen