Skip to content

A Covid Mystery: the Terrified, Treat-Yourself Consumer

Breaking Down the Boldest Bets in Business

A shopper browses sneakers displayed in the window of a store in San Francisco.
A shopper browses sneakers displayed in the window of a store in San Francisco.Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

At the moment, we need all the dopamine we can get. Perhaps, that’s why we are mashing the “buy” button so hard and so often. 

A day doesn’t go by of late without another boffo shopping report beating expectations. At a frenetic pace, we are snatching up cars, homes, home improvement gear, laptops, flowers, treadmills, guns, golf clubs, and video games, to name but a few categories. Best Buy can’t keep up with gadget demand. Nintendo just posted a historic billion-dollar profit. And Target sales tripled in the recent quarter.