How the Virus Transformed the Way We Spend Money

The coronavirus has profoundly altered daily life in Canada, ushering in sweeping upheavals to the Canadian. economy. Among the most immediate effects of the crisis? Radical changes to how people spend their money. In a matter of weeks, pillars of Canadian industry essentially ground to a halt. Airplanes, restaurants and arenas were suddenly empty. In many provinces, businesses deemed nonessential — including luxury goods retailers and golf courses — were ordered closed. “This is the sharpest decline in consumer spending that we have ever seen,” said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust. All of the charts in this article are based on a New York Times analysis of data from Earnest Research, which tracks and analyzes credit card and debit card purchases of nearly 2 million people in Canada. While the data does not include cash transactions, and therefore does not reflect all sales, it provides a strong snapshot of the impact of the virus on the economy. Some companies like Walmart, Amazon and Uber Eats have seen spikes in purchases. But customers of many other businesses have simply stopped spending, the data shows.

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