Frank Warren, the Black owner of Brooklyn’s Breukelen Coffee House, agrees: “We’ve all been forced to live simply, so it gives us lots of time to think.” Sales jumped 30% the week following the Floyd protests, he said. 

Last month’s Conscious Consumer Spending Index also found that almost half of respondents said they plan to work harder on their health going forward. That trend, combined with growing interest in socially conscious enterprises, is steering new customers to businesses including White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia, which raises grass-fed livestock and grows organic vegetables.

The vast majority of its $20 million in annual revenue historically has come from wholesalers such as Sysco Corp. and retailers like Whole Foods Market, but during the coronavirus lockdown, online consumer orders soared sixfold, owner Will Harris said.

Most of that increase was due to people replacing grocery-store visits with e-commerce, he said. Even so, he expects the online-consumer business to roughly double from its pre-pandemic level of about $2.5 million a year. Almost a third of White Oak’s new customers placed a second order after states reopened, according to Jenni Harris, his daughter and the farm’s marketing director.

“We’re not the cheapest, quickest place out there,” she said. So along with enjoying the products they bought while sheltering in place, the new customers likely “have an interest in animal welfare, land regeneration or rural economics.”

Early data and consumer polling also show that more Americans are less inclined to part with their dollars. While the U.S. savings rate hit an all-time high of 33% in April thanks mostly to Covid-19-induced business closures, some of that frugality seems to be persisting. A June survey of 876 Americans by Acupoll Precision Research found that almost half of even affluent households had cut back on nonessential spending.

Carol Stanford, a longtime San Diego-area Realtor, falls into that category. She’d always been an “avid shopper” in the past, she said, often meeting friends for lunch and then spending the afternoon at favorite stores such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. But while sheltering in place, she had “a complete change of outlook” about shopping and invited a friend over to help clean out her closet and donate numerous items to charity.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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