Jun 15, 2020 - Economy

Americans increased their spending while working from home in May

Data: CreditCards.com; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: CreditCards.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new survey finds that rather than saving, Americans who switched from working in an office to working from home spent more money last month, as grocery and utility bills increased significantly but spending on things like restaurants, gas and clothes declined only slightly.

Details: The changes were driven by millennials, people living in the Northeast and lower income households.

  • The differences by age cohort were the most jarring — Gen Xers spent $2 less per month on average and baby boomers spent $24 less a month, while millennials spent an additional $208 a month.

Between the lines: With more people expected to continue working from home in the near future, the increased spending — with more going towards grocery stores and less towards restaurants — could be a trend that sticks, Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com, tells Axios.

  • 82% of people who were forced to work from home would like to continue doing so at least two days per week once restrictions have been lifted.

Of note: The survey focused only on "essential" items and excluded things like entertainment, sporting events or alcohol.

Methodology: CreditCards.com commissioned YouGov to conduct the May 21-22 survey, with a total sample size of 2,768 adults, including 822 who were working or had worked from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Go deeper: The good and bad news about working from home during the pandemic

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