2020 was an unprecedented year, but despite flipping the calendar to 2021, Americans are still feeling the effects of the global pandemic with the backdrop of a new administration, changing regulation and a vaccine rollout. As our Non-Prime Tracker research continues, we gain insight into how prime and non-prime consumers are handling these evolving circumstances.
January brought another round of government stimulus checks. Fewer people, both prime and non-prime, received government assistance in January of 2021 than in April of 2020. While eligibility has narrowed, for many the need remains the same.
The report shows that many non-prime folks had to allocate their stimulus checks to items that would be considered “essential”, such as groceries, utilities and rent. Prime people are more likely to spend it on large non-recurring expenses such as home improvement, furniture or appliances. This suggests that non-prime people are more reliant on the stimulus money for needs, while prime people are able to make ends meet without it and choose to use it on more discretionary expenses.
While the country may be divided in some ways, there is agreement it may be heading in the wrong direction. Prime and non-prime people both reported a steady drop in confidence that the U.S. is headed in the right direction. This is a metric we will continue to monitor as the new administration begins to implement new policies.