FIRST Report

Facteus Insight Report on Spending and Transactions (FIRST) Gain Insight on Changes in Consumer Spending Transactions
Understand the Economy Through the Lens of Transaction Data

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.

FIRST Report: February 24, 2021

Consumer spending shows continued weakness in our panel in the week ending Feb 23, with average spending across categories falling 13% year over year. Travel spending continued its recovery across all categories except for cruise lines. Spending in the retail segment, on the other hand, continued its slowdown with a 12% year over year growth average. The fast-food category now shows flat year over year growth while restaurants have single digit gains, all off highs achieved in mid-January and trending down.


Average category spending in the Retail segment continued its downward trend, finishing the week at 12% year over year, down three percentage points from the prior week. Home Supply Stores, with a week to week decline of 13%, ceded its title of best performing Retail category by 1 percentage point to Wholesale Clubs which posted a 21% year over year growth for the week. Amazon and Walmart both saw continued decreases in year over year spending.


Average category spending in the Entertainment segment saw the biggest decline out of all the main categories, with a 6-percentage point drop from last week to a decline of 14% year over year. The Restaurant category grew by 1% to a 5% year over year growth, while Video Game spending declined significantly to a growth of 26% year over year.


The Travel Segment categories showed positive week over week spending growth for the third week in a row, with a decline of 42%, up four percentage points from the prior week. Travel Bookings saw the largest week to week growth at 6%, followed by Lodging at 4% and Airlines at 3%.


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