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 24, 2021

As a reminder, we will be offering a view of 2021 compared to 2020 as well as 2019 to help us understand the trends we are seeing as the impacts of the lockdowns began last year. The week ending March 21 showed the impact of stimulus payments on spending with overall consumer spending showing an average year over year growth of 155% across categories compared to 2020. However, this growth isn’t simply a reflection of the reduced spending last year during lockdown. Comparing to 2019, there is growth in every category, with spending averaging out to a 21% growth rate. Staying with the 2019 comparisons, most of the growth in spending is coming from the Retail category where Department Stores, Discount Stores, and Wholesale Clubs all saw greater than 50% growth from 2019 levels. Travel also shows strong growth with Airlines flat compared to 2019 (up from 36% decline the week before), Lodging up 3% from 2019, and Travel Bookings up 49%.

2021 spending compared to 2020 and 2019 charts are shown below


Year over year spending in the overall Retail segment jumped to 85%. Wholesale Clubs, Discount Stores & Variety Stores showed strong week over week growth of 26%, 36%, and 26% respectively. Amazon showed a week over week gain of 41% while Walmart grew 21% week over week. Meanwhile, Home Supply Warehouse spend continues growing with a 19% week over week gain.



In the Entertainment segment, the Restaurant and Fast-Food categories continue growing week over week by 173% and 38%, respectively. Video Games spending declined 28% week to week, the only category we track that showed a decline week to week.


The Travel categories, not surprisingly, continued to show strong week over week growth in 2021, with spend in Airlines growing by 266%, Cruise Lines by 79% and overall Travel Bookings growing 308%. The overall travel segment grew by over 200%.


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