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 shows continued weakness in our panel in the week ending Feb 14, with average spending across categories falling 11% year over year. Spending in the retail segment slowed down from the prior week, while spending in the Entertainment and Travel segments were fairly steady compared to prior week levels. Consumers continue to focus spending on products oriented around the home as Video Games continue to be the fastest growing categories for the week.
Average category spending in the Retail segment was up 15% year over year, down six percentage points from the prior week. The best performing categories continued to be Home Supply Stores, growing 33% year over year, and Wholesale Clubs, growing 22% year over year. The stay-at-home spending theme is also evident looking at Amazon, which grew 45% year over year in our panel.
Average category spending in the Entertainment segment declined 8% year over year, two percentage points worse than the prior week. Every category declined from the prior week except for the Video Game category which grew by three percentage points.
The Travel Segment categories declined an average of 46% year over year, up one percentage point from the prior week. Spending on Air Travel was up from the prior week, declining 50% year over year, while spending on Lodging grew four percentage points from the prior week, declining 24% year over year.