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: March 3, 2021

Consumer spending shows continued weakness in our panel in the week ending February 28, with average spending across categories falling 12% year over year. Grocery Stores and Supermarkets showed the first decline year over year which contributed to the overall Retail segment slowdown, a 6% year over year growth average. The fast-food category has picked up gains with 7% year over year growth and restaurants showed continued strength with 10% year over year growth. Travel spending continued its recovery week-over-week across all categories except for lodging.


Average category spending in the Retail segment continued its downward trend, finishing the week at 6% year over year, down six percentage points from the prior week. Wholesale Clubs and Discount Retail continues reverting to lower year over year growth after highs in early January. Similar declines are seen for both Amazon and Walmart, with Walmart spending declining 11% year over year. Meanwhile, Home Supply Warehouse spend ticked back up with a 5% week over week gain.


Average category spending in the Entertainment segment saw the best gains out of all the main categories, with a 6-percentage point increase from last week to a decline of 8% year over year. The category growth was mostly attributed to the Restaurant and Fast-Food categories, which grew week over week by 5% and 7%, respectively. Meanwhile, Video Games continued its downtrend with a 6% week to week decline.


The Travel Segment categories continued to show positive week over week growth, with a decline of 41%, up one percentage point from the prior week. Airlines grew by 5%, Cruise Lines by 2%, and overall Travel Bookings growing 1%. Lodging was the only category that saw a decline, dropping two percentage points to a decline of 22%.


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