Insights on Changing Consumer Spending
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: SEPTEMBER 16, 2020
After a strong week leading up to Labor Day, consumer spending retreated during the week ending September 13, declining 8% year over year vs the 1% decline from the prior week. Spending growth remained robust at Wholesale Clubs, Discount Stores, and Home Supply Stores, while spending on Video Games and Lodging slowed. The biggest takeaway might be that spending may be finding its COVID-19 equilibrium, with weekly spending declining 5-10% year over year.
Spending in the Retail category grew at a pace similar to the prior week, up 31% year over year. Department stores (shown in the table at the beginning of the report) reached their highest level since we began tracking, growing 26% year over year, perhaps a function of the muscle memory associated with back-to-school shopping. Growth in the Discount category (Stores, Wholesale Clubs) remained strong. This strength has been consistent since mid-April, suggesting that there might be a more permanent shift going on with consumers towards these low-price retailers. The Home Supply category continues to see robust spending, growing over 50% year over year during the week ending September 13.
Spending in the overall Entertainment category retreated during the week, declining 19% vs 9% the prior week. Spending at Restaurants grew 4% year over year, which is about the level seen pre-pandemic. However, the mix of spending has clearly shifted as spending growth in the Fast Food segment is much higher than it was pre-pandemic. Spending on Video Games has dipped sharply the last two weeks, growing 20% year over year the week ending September 13, after growing between 60% and 80% for much of the last 5 months.
Spending in the Travel segment decelerated in the week ending September 13, falling 46% year over year vs a 36% year-over-year decline the prior week. Spending on Air Travel retreated a bit after six straight weeks of improvement, declining 60% year over year. Spending on Lodging fell sharply from the prior week, declining 15% year over year after growing 4% the week prior. This could be a Labor Day travel impact, but the decline is now at a level not seen since July.
FIRST REPORT ARCHIVE