U.S. Shoppers Plan to Spend More at Local, Minority-Owned Stores

Polarization in the U.S. is reaching the retail world, with three quarters of consumers now saying they plan to shop at businesses whose values line up with their own, a study from Mastercard SpendingPulse shows.

Consumers say they will prefer to spend at local establishments and those owned by minorities and women, according to the survey. And just over half of those interviewed said they’d prefer no gift at all over receiving one from a retailer whose views differ from their own.

The study indicates that rapid change in shopping habits, fueled in part by this year’s global pandemic and unrest related to racial inequality, have staying power. While its not unusual for younger generations of consumers to make a political statement with their shopping list, that trend is now widening to new demographics, according to Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard and former chief executive officer of Saks Inc.

U.S. Shoppers Plan to Spend More at Local, Minority-Owned Stores

“Black Lives Matter is certainly a piece of it, but I think it’s certainly much broader than that,” he said in an interview. He listed climate change and upward mobility as issues that also weigh heavily, and said consumers “are thinking about the role of shopping in their lives.”

It’s yet another way in which consumer spending has shifted this year. The pandemic has also helped to turbo-charge shoppers’ pre-Covid migration toward e-commerce.

While those participating in the study gave details on their spending plans, it doesn’t mean consumers will necessarily follow through when it’s time to open their wallets, Sadove said. This is the first time Mastercard SpendingPulse has asked about these issues.

Additionally, nearly two thirds of those surveyed plan to use stores that have contactless payment options. Just over half said they plan to ship more gifts this year in order to remain socially distanced.

Despite uncertainty related to the pandemic, the company has projected that holiday spending will rise 2.4% over the holiday period.

The survey was carried out online with 2,017 U.S. residents from Oct. 8 to Oct. 13.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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