May 12, 2021 | 3 min read

Nextdoor Insights Series #5: Our changing spending habits

The pandemic changed nearly everything about our daily lives — especially how we handled our finances. 

In the past year, online shopping surged. Neighbors invested more money into their homes and became more conscious of where they shopped. They also saved, putting some plans and purchases on hold. 

As vaccinations increase, businesses reopen, and vacation plans emerge, we examine how COVID-19 impacted U.S. neighbors’ consumption habits. Find the full report, created in partnership with GWI, here

Series highlights:

Neighbors developed new spending habits.


Attitudes about shopping changed during the pandemic, with neighbors shopping more frequently than before. Online purchases surged, and neighbors bought more electronics, furniture, and healthcare items in 2020. The outlook looks positive for the next six months, too: Around 1 in 5 say they're planning to buy a car. While the online boom continues across categories, neighbors seem to crave the in-store experience again. One-fifth of neighbors say they rely more on local businesses now than they did before the pandemic.

Media consumption changed.


More time at home meant neighbors spent more time on their smartphones and consuming media. Online TV became a bigger part of daily life. Gaming and music streaming were increasingly popular. The average neighbor now spends two hours a day on social media, though they are selective in which apps they use. For instance, 16% of neighbors have not visited Facebook in the past month, and 47% haven’t used Instagram.

On the horizon: Vacations, restaurants, and more


Travel plans were hampered by the pandemic, but more than 1 in 4 neighbors say they’re very likely to book a vacation in 2021. Neighbors also look forward to going to restaurants, movies, concerts, and bars post-lockdown. They’re planning major purchases in the coming months that include electronics, travel, and home improvement items.   

Neighbors are more conscious shoppers.


Neighbors put unnecessary spending on hold in 2020. They acted financially cautious and built up cash reserves they’ll be looking to spend as their confidence grows. Neighbors are also making more conscious efforts to support local businesses and expect brands to behave in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner. 

2020 changed neighbors’ consumption habits and expectations in ways that may continue long after the pandemic. And sometimes small, local purchases make the biggest difference: 75% of neighbors said they have been a recipient of a random act of kindness, like someone paying for their coffee or groceries. 

As we move forward, we’re reminded how our neighbors help us get through difficult times. We can continue to plug into our neighborhoods, support local businesses and get involved through Nextdoor and campaigns like the #KINDchallenge and #shopsafeshoplocal.

Missed our past Insights series? Find them below - 

Insights series #1: In an era of social distancing, neighborliness is on the rise 

Insights series #2: Strength in neighbors

Insights series #3: It starts with a wave

Insights series #4: 2020 brought us home


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Author image Nextdoor Enterprise Team The Nextdoor Enterprise Team is dedicated to telling success stories of Enterprise brands and agencies, providing product education, and sharing the latest marketing insights to help you authentically join neighborhood conversations and make trusted connections with your audience.