covid-stimulus

Here’s How Americans Are Spending Their Stimulus Checks

Within 10 days of receipt, those who had received the stimulus payments had spent $600 more than those for whom the check hadn’t yet appeared.

When Congress passed a $2 trillion aid package in late March, part of its goal was to give a quick adrenaline shot to the sputtering economy in the form of $1,200 stimulus checks for eligible individuals.

researchers have provided early answers to these questions based on real-time transaction-level spending data. They find that stimulus recipients are parting with their money remarkably quickly; on average, Americans spent roughly a third of the government-issued funds within 10 days of receiving it.

The biggest predictor of who burns through the money most quickly isn’t income, or even loss of a paycheck. Rather, it was liquidity: those with less money in their bank accounts when the check arrived tended to spend more of their check right away.

In the past recessions, a significant portion of the checks went to big durables purchases, like cars—but in 2020, much more of the spending is devoted to groceries and takeout food, as well as to catching up on rent and bill payments.

When the researchers divided the sample into four groups based on monthly income, they found stark contrasts in how quickly the money left users’ accounts.

Those in the lowest income group, who earned less than $1,000 per month, spent about 40 percent of the checks in the first ten days. That was twice as much as the highest income group (those making over $5,000 a month), who spent closer to 20 percent in that brief period. Because the sample is skewed towards households with lower incomes, Baker notes that usage of stimulus funds nationwide may more closely resemble this higher-income portion of the sample.

People with the highest amounts of cash on hand—$3,000 or more in their checking accounts—had no response to the appearance of their stimulus check. On the other hand, those who maintained accounts with $500 or less spent almost half of the deposits—44.5 cents per every dollar—within 10 days.

Compared to stimulus recipients in past recessions, people today are spending much more of their stimulus money on food, Baker notes. The study found large jumps in restaurant takeout and delivery in particular, with spending in these subcategories surging by about 300 percent in the first few days after the stimulus checks arrived.


Their sample included 5,746 users, about 30 percent of whom received the government stimulus check within the first week of distribution. 

Source: Northwestern’s Kellogg School

pandemic-blog

Four Steps to Navigate the Pandemic

It’s hard to imagine a more challenging environment for marketers than the current moment. With a global pandemic affecting the way nearly everyone in the world works and lives, nothing feels certain anymore. And even the uncertainties are shifting rapidly.

map-featured

Worldwide Digital Economy Snapshot

There’s a big wide world of internet users out there. Tufts University took a look at what is moving the needle in the top 50 internet countries.

The Digital Evolution Index (DEI), created by the Fletcher School at Tufts University (with support from Mastercard and DataCash), is derived from four broad drivers: supply-side factors (including access, fulfillment, and transactions infrastructure); demand-side factors (including consumer behaviors and trends, financial and Internet and social media savviness); innovations (including the entrepreneurial, technological and funding ecosystems, presence and extent of disruptive forces and the presence of a start-up culture and mindset); and institutions (including government effectiveness and its role in business, laws and regulations and promoting the digital ecosystem). The resulting index includes a ranking of 50 countries, which were chosen because they are either home to most of the current 3 billion internet users or they are where the next billion users are likely to come from.

digital economy graph

Stand Out countries have shown high levels of digital development in the past and continue to remain on an upward trajectory.
Stall Out countries have achieved a high level of evolution in the past but are losing momentum and risk falling behind.
Break Out countries have the potential to develop strong digital economies. Though their overall score is still low, they are moving upward and are poised to become Stand Out countries in the future.
Watch Out countries face significant opportunities and challenges, with low scores on both current level and upward motion of their DEI. Some may be able to overcome limitations with clever innovations and stopgap measures, while others seem to be stuck.

Via Harvard Business Review

Mobile App Install Screen

Google to punish sites with mobile app nag screens

Good news! Google is fighting the good fight, taking on websites that turn up their nose at good user experience.

If you’ve ever tapped on a search result on your phone only to see a giant ad imploring you to install the site’s app, you know how annoying that can be. Google realizes that too, thanks to its own internal study that showed users often don’t click through when they encounter these ads. Now Google wants to change that by downranking sites that pull such a stunt. Starting November 1st, any site that uses large app install interstitials will no longer be deemed “mobile-friendly” by Google, which could spell disaster for the site’s SEO. Other interstitials will still be okay, however, and Google is encouraging the use of less obtrusive app install banners instead. While ads aren’t going away entirely — this is Google, after all — at least it looks like they’ll be less aggravating in the future.

Via Engadget