Americans Are Worse Tippers Now Than Pre-COVID

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans vowed to offset the negative impact on service-industry workers by becoming better tippers. But new data shows that Americans have not only failed to follow through — they are worse tippers now than before Covid hit.

While 73% of Americans say they always tip at a sit-down restaurant, that’s down from 77% in 2019, according to a new demographically-weighted survey from CreditCards.com. And although 57% of Americans always tip food delivery people, that’s down from 63% in 2019. Only about four in 10 (43%) Americans always tip a taxi or rideshare driver, down from one in two (49%) before the pandemic.

The lone exception to the trend: Roughly two-thirds of Americans (66%) say they always tip their hairstylist or barber, up three points since 2019.

“While more than a third of Americans pledged to become better tippers in 2020 and 2021, it seems that sentiment has worn off,” said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. “Inflation is cutting into consumers’ purchasing power and a tight labor market has left many service industry businesses understaffed and struggling to provide top-notch customer experiences.”

Decades-high inflation has replaced Covid as the service industry’s greatest threat. Historically, restaurants take a hit during times of high inflation, as consumers look for ways to cut back on discretionary spending. According to a new survey from CNBC, more than half (53%) of Americans now plan to cut back “mostly” on dining out. Recent data from Revenue Management Solutions shows that the average restaurant check was 7.2% higher year-over-year but restaurant traffic in April was down 9.4% during the same period.


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