While temperatures were dropping and snow was swirling this winter, people were shopping up a storm of their own—while curled up on the sofa under a blanket.
This year’s brutal winter caused an increase in online spending in the first quarter of 2014, the most recent Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index showed. The report, which tracks the shopping habits of Chase Freedom cardholders across the United States, comes out each quarter.
Grocery shopping and ordering food online were two areas that saw significant jumps, with grocery spending up 20% and online fast food orders jumping by 12% over the same quarter last year. Overall, online purchases were up 3% and in-store spending fell by 5% compared to the first quarter of 2013.
Looking back two years, there was a 7% rise in online purchases and a 7% decrease in brick-and-mortar spending from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2014.
Indoor hobbies were hot last winter
Craft supply stores saw a 113% increase in spending during the first three months of 2014 over the same time last year. Outdoor activities predictably sagged during the cold months, with a 15% decrease in sporting goods spending and a 3% dip in home improvement purchases.
Travel spending was also impacted by the unusually harsh winter weather. Gas spending was down 7% in comparison to the first quarter of 2013, and airline spending fell 6%.
Spring break warmed up spending
As winter dragged on, people were eager to get away for a little vacation when spring break rolled around. In March there was an increase in spending on hotels, theme parks and car rentals compared to January and February.
From February to March, theme park spending jumped 47%, car rentals were up 24%, and hotel expenditures rose 22%.
Chase Freedom cash back categories for spring and summer
The Chase Freedom card offers 1% cash back on all purchases, with 5% back in select categories that change each quarter. Currently, cardholders get 5% back on up to $1,500 in spending at restaurants and Lowe’s home improvement stores. That offer ends on June 30.
This summer, from July 1 through September 30, Chase Freedom will offer 5% cash back on gas station spending and at Kohl’s department stores.