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 continued to contract year over year, though the rate of contraction improved from the prior week. The strongest category was the Discount Store category, which grew 60% year over year, its high-water mark for the year so far. Spending in the Video Game category also returned to the level that is has seen during most of the pandemic. The Travel segment appears to have rolled over, contracting at rates not seen since the summer, as COVID-19 cases have surged again.
The aggregate Retail segment saw spending grow 26% year over year, improving 4 percentage points from the prior week. The standout category was Discount Stores, growing 60% year over year, followed by the Home Supply category which grew 49% year over year. The biggest week to week decline was in the Wholesale Club segment, which grew 33% year over year, but fell 12 percentage points from the prior week. Both Amazon and Walmart both year over year growth rates improve form the prior week, and Amazon continued to maintain its wide growth gap over its retail peer.
Spending in the aggregate Entertainment segment fell 13% year over year, 4 percentage points better than the prior week. The Restaurant category and the Fast Food subcategory both saw growth rates improve from the prior week, and are inching back toward their high water mark. Video Game spending growth surged to 50% year over year, up from 32% from the prior week.
The aggregate Travel segment declined 48% year over year, one point worse than the prior week. Air Travel spend fell 54% year over year, the same decline as the prior week and the second straight week of a greater than 50% decline. Spending on Lodging was also flat from the prior week, declining 21% year over year. Rising COVID-19 cases may be impacting the recovery of spending in this segment.