The booms and (mostly) busts of the COVID economy

No beers to buy after work. No decor to buy for weddings cancelled. No need for new shoes when you spend 18 hours a day shuffling around the house in your slippers. 

The last year has seen a radical change in consumer behavior — your behavior. California’s tax collectors break down the state’s sales tax haul by business type, revealing who has lost out and the few lucky winners.

For white collar Californians who have kept their jobs — and who, for lack of anything else to do, have actually been able to save money — 2020 has been the year of home improvement. This is the year they rushed to outfit their living rooms-turned-offices with standing desks, surged to Home Depot and took up gardening.

Among the losers: Cancelled and pared down weddings, birthdays, quinceaneras and bar mitzvahs have all summoned fewer floral arrangements. The work-from-home year has also been a dismal one for shoe sales. There’s the obvious lower bar tab because the bars all closed. 

But lest you think that means we’re all living healthier lives, the tax revenue may suggest otherwise: Beer, wine and liquor stores have been raking it in. We’re all just drinking from home now.