San Diego County consumers spent $2.3B less after pandemic hit, SANDAG says

Grocery shopping
Posted at 3:41 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 18:41:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Consumer spending in San Diego was down nearly $2.3 billion between February and April 2020, showing just how badly the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the local economy.

Since stay-at-home orders began in March, SANDAG says taxable sales in the region dropped from an average of $5.3 billion to $3 billion in April.

The largest losses in the region were seen at apparel stores (an 83% decrease in sales) and restaurants (down 67%).

On the other side, big-box retailers like Costco, Target, and Walmart have fared well, SANDAG says. Grocery stores and pharmacy, though, were actually down 10% in taxable sales.

Home improvement sales were also up, likely due to stimulus checks, SANDAG adds.

"It is interesting to learn that grocery stores and pharmacy sales are actually down by 10%, while home improvement sales have spiked," said SANDAG Chief Economist Ray Major. "We can assume that during the pandemic, people had more time to work on outdoor landscaping, gardens, and other home beautification projects. Plant seed companies also saw increases-- nearly four times their average sales."

Consumer spending among online retailers like Amazon increased 35% as well.

SANDAG's report estimates that consumer spending will continue to be down through August, though slightly less each month.