Shoppers are Splurging, Not Panic Buying as COVID-19 Cases Surge: Report

Market research shows some consumers are purchasing higher-end coffees, cheeses and frozen entrees instead of value brands or private labels, a stark contrast to the type of spending activity seen at the beginning of the pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

A new report shows many shoppers are splurging as of late and going for high-priced items because they might have more cash to spend since the pandemic has limited activities.

Whatever your shopping list looks like, it may have changed substantially since the beginning of the pandemic.

New market research shows consumers are purchasing higher-end coffees, cheeses and frozen entrees instead of value brands or private labels.

“The healthier option. The more organic option. That is always the more pricey option, too, especially in this time. But if you have the extra cash why not?” said Leanne Morancie.

Fewer activities available to people could be leaving people with more cash in their pockets to spend, according to the report.

“Because there are limited things that are exciting. It’s like, 'Oh, what’s the most exciting thing that’s gonna happen this week? Oh, we are gonna buy something new at the grocery store and try that out at home,” said North Park resident Alanna Gabriele.

That sounds a lot different than the mentality at the beginning of the pandemic when a run on grocery stores left essential item aisles empty.

“The whole panic buying, I hope that doesn’t happen again,” said Gabriele.

Toilet paper, sanitizer and bulk food items were nowhere to be found in shopping carts of the people NBC 7 spoke to, despite the record number of COVID-19 cases across the country.

While some may be splurging, there will always be pennywise shoppers, whether or not we're in the grips of a pandemic.

“I keep pretty much the same, looking for the best sales. It’s pretty much like that. I didn’t change a lot, I think because I come from a third world country and we always are in crisis there,” said Ricardo Cassian, who is originally from Argentina.

According to a recent report by SANDAG, about 176,000 workers in the region remain without a job. Additionally, 80% of job loss due to COVID-19 was in the tourism, retail, and education sectors.

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