October 2021 was apparently a good month for business. Perhaps the holiday atmosphere and decline in number of Covid-19 cases, just before the outbreak of Omicron, or perhaps other factors, prompted Israelis to spend 35% more than in October 2019. In most (though not all) areas, the figures for November were not as good.

Credit card purchases shed light on the extent of people’s expenditures, but even more so on the areas in which they spend more and those in which they conserve. Because expenditures are subject to significant seasonal shifts, we have chosen to compare each month to the corresponding one in a previous year. The year we chose was 2019 – the last year before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The impact of Covid-19 became evident beginning in March 2020, and especially so in April, during which the greatest drop in expenditures (relative to the corresponding month in 2019, as noted) was, as expected, in flight and tourism (nearly 100% decrease), followed by leisure and recreation (-81%) and clothing and footwear (-79%). The one area that was not harmed was computers and software, which saw an increase of 31% and 19% in March and April 2020 (respectively) relative to the corresponding months in 2019.

Throughout the entire period of the Covid-19 pandemic, expenditures on computers and software remained high, reaching a peak (in February-March 2021) of more than 60% gain relative to the corresponding months in 2019.

Expenditures on leisure and recreation began to increase towards the end of 2020, reaching their 2019 level in March 2021. Israelis’ expenditures on tourist flights and accommodation also began to increase towards the end of 2020, reaching their 2019 level very recently – in November 2021. During that month, for the first time since January 2020 according to periodic Central Bureau of Statistics data, the scope of purchases exceeded that of the corresponding month in 2019.

Translated by Merav Datan