With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to have a significant effect on every life, and with the recent stimulus payments meant to boost the US economy, consumers are spending on categories that make their at-home life more comfortable.

According to The NPD Group, spending on general merchandise categories experience double-digit year-over-year dollar gains in January and the first week of February. Every week in 2021 so far has posted double-digit growth in terms of discretionary retail spending in the general merchandise categories NPD tracks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to adapt, and they did so quickly, shifting their discretionary spending from travel and other experiences towards the here and now of a new homebound lifestyle,” says Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry advisor, retail. “Though there was some struggle to keep pace and align retail marketing and merchandising, this rapid shift in consumer buying behavior propelled several industries, like consumer technology and housewares forward, and digital was at the forefront.”

“The robust nature of this continued spending, albeit helped by the stimulus payments, is impressive in that the consumer demand and desire for products to enhance their lives at home is clearly there,” he adds. “But with many products being one-and-done purchases by nature, future retail momentum will require product and marketing innovation that creates new consumer intrigue.”