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 our panel was largely unchanged in the week ending Feb 7, with overall spending falling 8% year over year, down from a 7% decline the prior week. Spending in the retail segment increased modestly from the prior week, while spending in the Entertainment and Travel segments both retreated from prior week levels. Consumers continue to focus spending on products oriented around the home, as Home Supply Stores and Video Games were the fastest growing categories for the week.
Spending in the aggregate Retail segment grew 21% year over year, up four percentage points from the prior week. The best performance categories were Home Supply Stores, growing 34% year over year, and Wholesale Clubs, growing 33% year over year. The stay-at-home spending theme is also evident looking at Amazon, which grew 47% year over year in our panel.
Spending in the aggregate Entertainment segment declined 6% year over year, four percentage points worse than the prior week. Every category declined from the prior week, but the absolute growth in the Video Game category remained robust, posting 43% year over year growth, another data point suggesting the stay-at-home theme for consumer spending behavior is still in play.
Spending in the aggregate Travel Segment declined 47% year over year, down four percentage points from the prior week. Spending on Air Travel was flat with the prior week, declining 53% year over year, while spending on Lodging fell five percentage points from the prior week, declining 28% year over year.