2020 in Transactions (US data)

2020 has been a really hard year. From Natural Calamities to Pandemic, everything which could go wrong went wrong. Pandemic led to shutdown of almost whole world, businesses were affected, many of them were shutdown. 

Card transactions covid

In this post, we are going to look into Economic data provided by https://tracktherecovery.org/ which has all the transactions from Jan - Oct 2020 in US. Using this data we will explore how the spending patterns of average person has changed in 2020. 

Lets start by exploring what the data says about these transactions.

Covid spending 2020

The above plot shows the card spending relative to January 4-31 2020 in all merchant category codes (MCC), these are 7 days moving averages. The orange line in the plot is Spending in all the categories, it shows a downward trend around starting from March 3 to April 1. Then it shows a slow recovery.

We can clearly see that around March 5 there started a decline in almost all the categories, considering that the first case of COVID-19 was reported on March 3. All the categories except "grocery and food" showed decline in transactions. There is a huge bump in grocery spending around March 10-28 which marks the start of lock down periods in most of the states. The grocery bump is because people started panicking and stocking up on grocery and food supplies. Another interesting thing to note about grocery is that it is positive even in Oct which means most of the people are still relying on cooking in homes.

Arts, Entertainment and recreation businesses had the worst year 2020, losing almost 70% of their businesses around April 1. It is still the most affected category in October. Transport and Warehousing is the second most affected category. Accommodation and Food Services is recovering slowly. Another thing to note is Healthcare category which also went down in March and April. I think the main reason for this is that people were scared to go to hospitals because of corona virus patients. It can also be because of lack of equipment as the covid patients used most of the available resources.


 spending by class

The second plot is the spending according to class. It is interesting to note that before 15 March the spending of all classes were almost same. After the decline period the high class people seems to spending less than other classes. The middle class spending is average. While the lower class seems to be spending the most of the money. I think this is because of the stimulus checks and unemployment benefits that the lower class is spending more than all the classes.