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Stefanie J. Huber

7 October 2021
Prospective economic developments depend on the behavior of consumer spending. A key question is whether private expenditures recover once social distancing restrictions are lifted or whether the COVID-19 crisis has a sustained impact on consumer confidence, p references, and, hence, spending. The elongated and profound experience of the COVID-19 crisis may durably affect consumer preferences. We conducted a representative consumer survey in five European countries in summer 2020, after the release of the first wave’s lockdown restrictions, and document the underlying reasons for households’ reduction in consumption in five key sectors: tourism, hospitality, services, retail, and public transports. We identify a large confidence shock in the Southern European countries and a shift in consumer preferences in the Northern European countries, particularly among high-income earners. We conclude that the COVID-19 experience has altered consumer behavior and that long-term sectoral consumption shifts may occur.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D81 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
D84 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Expectations, Speculations
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
E60 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→General
E71 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
G51 : Financial Economics
H30 : Public Economics→Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents→General