INSIGHTS ON CHANGING CONSUMER BEHAVIOR
The daily US consumer spend index shows the percentage change in spending on a daily basis, compared to consumer spending in 2019.
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FIRST REPORT: MAY 20, 2020
While there remains a fair amount of uncertainty with the economy under the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing some signs of improvement in consumer spending in our latest FIRST Report. For the first time since the pandemic started, the overall restaurant industry improved more than the fast food segment, showing that people are slowly returning to sit down restaurants in some regions of the country that have eased restrictions. The lodging industry also seems to be improving a bit, likely also because of the easing of restrictions. Discount stores remain a strong category, as does the home supply store market; and Amazon continues to grow at an impressive pace, suggesting that online commerce may be getting a sustainable bump from this crisis.
In the Wholesale and Discount category, year-over-year growth for the week ending May 17 was largely unchanged from the prior week. The best performing sub-category, Discount Stores, which includes merchants such as Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Walmart among others, grew 51% in the period.
While a good bit off its high-water mark of 80% growth, spending in the Home Supply category still grew at a healthy pace of 50% year-over-year for the week ending May 17. Consumers with more time at home are putting it to use working on their homes and gardens.
Amazon continued its torrid growth pace during the week of May 17, with year-over-year spending growth coming in at 92%, down only slightly from the prior week, and widening its growth gap with Walmart, who saw spending growth tick down to 18% year-over-year.
A small nuanced detail in the restaurant industry was evident in the spending data for the fast food category. For the week ending May 17, spending growth in the overall restaurant industry improved while fast food spending was unchanged from the prior week. A clear takeaway from this is that the opening up of several states (GA and TX in particular) is resulting in a pick-up in business at sit down restaurants in these regions.
Spending in the Video Game industry continues to impress, with year-over-year growth coming in at 93% for the week ending May 17, up from 81% in the prior week. The last week that year-over-year growth was below 60% was March 29.
While air travel spending saw no real improvement during the week of May 17, the lodging industry continued its improving trend. Spending on lodging was only down 47% year-over-year, better than the 54% it was down in the prior week. It would appear that some of the easing of stay-at-home restrictions are beginning to flow through to the lodging industry.
The biggest takeaway in the Drug Store/Pharmacy industry is that spending patterns are basically back to pre-pandemic levels. In the week ending May 17, spending was flat year-over-year, and down from the prior period.
FIRST REPORT ARCHIVE