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THE STRATEGIC SET

Consumers are finding ways to persist despite—and even capitalize on—this unprecedented year

While there’s no question that the pandemic and its subsequent effects have entirely upended everyone’s lives, some consumers are taking action to make this unprecedented situation work in their favor. For some, this may mean finally choosing to invest their money, using their spare time to start a side hustle, or perhaps enjoying a more flexible schedule. Read on for just a few more ways in which consumers are taking advantage of this unprecedented time. (Editor's note: this article in no way aims to trivialize the devastating impact of the pandemic.)

RACKING UP POINTS FOR POST-PANDEMIC PURCHASES

According to Bloomberg via Business Insider, Amex credit card users are stockpiling their points, perhaps in anticipation of post-pandemic purchases. Accordingly, American Express and other financial institutions like Capitol One and Chase have revised their rewards systems to better align with consumers’ Covid-19-era purchase behaviors, offering incentives for essential purchase categories like groceries, gas, and streaming services. Following nine months in varying degrees of lockdown, and with the recent news around promising vaccine developments on the horizon, it’s speculated that consumers are eager to resume previous spending, travel, and experience-forward activity, and some are preparing for that by capitalizing on such incentives.

EXTREME MAKEOVER: QUARANTINE EDITION

Some are actually happy to hide out at home and cover their faces with masks if they need to go out: according to Vogue, consumer demand for cosmetic procedures has “gone up significantly over the course of the pandemic.” Without their usual roster of in-person activities, consumers can recover quietly in the privacy of their homes, a common explanation for this surge of bookings during the middle of a global health crisis. Indeed, several plastic surgeons are reporting being busier than ever.

SMALLER, SAVINGS-ORIENTED WEDDINGS

Despite how some young couples have not been able to have the huge weddings they previously planned for, others are discovering they might be better off without them. While the pandemic has clearly been disastrous, it’s allowed consumers a chance to recalibrate what really matters to them, and some are just grateful to make their love official at all. Some young couples are trading elaborate, expensive events for low-cost, simplified celebrations on sidewalks, in Zoom rooms, at courthouses, and in backyards, moreover allowing them to save for larger and longer-term purchases like homes.