Consumption in Spain During the State of Alert: An Analysis Based on Payment Card Spending
14 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 21, 2020
In recent years, information on the usage of cards as a means of payment has been increasingly used as an indicator of private consumption. The advantages of such information include its daily frequency and the short time lag from the moment of spending until it becomes available. This article uses this indicator to analyse Spanish household consumption since the state of alert was declared in mid-March and to explore the corresponding determinants. Indeed, the drop in consumption during the COVID-19 health crisis has been far greater than that suggested by the usual determinants, indicating that other factors could largely explain the developments observed. Included here are the greater uncertainty as to the course of the disease and its economic repercussions, and the restrictions on people’s movement and on various economic activities during the state of alert. Card payment data can be used to investigate the importance of social distancing measures when explaining the developments observed in consumption since mid-March. The article identifies that the indicators of payment card usage show a high correlation with the course of the restrictions on movement and activity. The information available also shows how in-person purchases were replaced by online shopping during lockdown.
Keywords: private consumption, COVID-19, card payments, restrictions on movement, restrictions on activity, lockdown, social distancing, uncertainty.
JEL Classification: D10, D12, D31, E21.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation