FIRST ReportFacteus Insight Report on Spending and Transactions (FIRST) Gain Insight on Changes in Consumer Spending Transactions
The FIRST Report is a series of weekly reports that will shed light on the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the consumer economy in the US. We plan to look at three super categories of the consumer economy: Retail, Entertainment and Travel. Focusing on both sectors and individual merchants, we will provide insight into how consumers are being impacted and how they are reacting in this unprecedented time. Our intent is to help businesses, governments, and economists have a current, accurate view of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic so that they can make informed and timely decisions.
Consumer spending in the aggregate in our panel was slightly improved during the week ending Jan 31, declining 7% year over year, vs an 8% decline the prior week. The Retail segment continued to be the strongest segment, yet was five percentage points worse than the prior week, while the Entertainment and Travel segments saw modest improvements week on week. The Home Supply and Video Game categories continued to be the strongest categories on a year over year basis.
Spending in the aggregate Retail segment grew 17% year over year, down from 22% the prior week. The biggest week to week decline came in the Wholesale Cub category, which fell seven percentage points week over week. The Home Supply category continued to be the absolute strongest category, growing 44% year over year, and was the only retail category not to see a decline.
Spending in the aggregate Entertainment segment declined 2% year over year, a four-percentage point improvement from the prior week. The two drivers of the improvement were Video Games (up 47% year over year) and Restaurants (up 12%) year over year. We will note that this week was the first week that the Restaurant category outperformed the Fast-Food category. We have seen a meaningful pickup in Uber Eats activity since the beginning of the year, and spending in our panel is captured in that category.
Spending in the aggregate Travel category declined 43% year over year, a five percentage point improvement from last week. Both the Air Travel and Lodging categories improved week over week, but the biggest move came in the Travel Bookings category which only declined 6% year over year, a nine percentage point improvement from last week.