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The Covid-19 containment seen through French consumer transaction data: Expenditures, mobility and online substitution (Vox CEPR Policy Portal)

Identifying the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and economies is a challenging task, as official economic data have, as they inevitably do, lagged events.
Using billions of anonymised French bank card transactions from before and during the COVID-19 epidemic, this column examines changes in consumer mobility, anticipatory behaviour in response to announced restrictions, and the contrasts between the responses of online and traditional point-of-sale consumption expenditures to the shock. Based on responses tracked at hourly, daily, and weekly frequencies, it finds that consumers’ use of the online shopping option has mitigated the overall impact of the shock.

By David Bounie and Youssouf Camara, Télécom Paris, and John W. Galbraith, McGill Univ., Montreal

(c) image Macrovector / Freepik