The Facteus Insight Report on Consumer Spending and Transactions (FIRST) information 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 four super categories of the consumer economy: Retail, Entertainment, Travel, and Healthcare. 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 COVID-19 data so that they can make informed and timely decisions.
The daily US Consumer Spend Index shows the percentage change in spending on a daily basis, compared to consumer spending in 2019.
Our latest installment of the Facteus FIRST report continues to show a very wide divergence of sector health, continuing on the trends seen in the prior week. There is no good news in the travel and entertainment sectors, while select sectors like Video Games, continue to see very strong growth. We have included a chart comparing Amazon to Walmart, and it’s clear that Amazon is well equipped to outperform in this environment.
The subcategories in the Retail category are starting to show clear performance diverging after several weeks of stay-at-home orders across the US. The best performing group was Discount Stores growing 20% year on year for the week ending April 12. The worst performing group, Wholesale Clubs, declined 5% year on year in the same period, the only group to show declines in the period.
After a volatile several weeks, spending at Consumer Home Supply merchants appears to be normalizing a bit. The category declined roughly 2% year over year for the week of April 12, down from 3% growth in the previous week. The last two weeks look close to the growth rates seen for the category pre-crisis.
Spending trends at the two Consumer Retail giants have started to diverge in the week ending April 12. Spending at Walmart was flat year over year, flat with the prior week, and back to levels seen pre-crisis. Amazon, on the other hand, has seen spending continue to accelerate, growing nearly 44% year over year.
No real changes to spending in the Consumer Restaurant category, with both Fast Food and the overall category essentially flat in the week of April 12 from the decline rates seen in the previous week. Both sectors seem to have bottomed out, but there is no real indication that things are changing for the better.
Spending in the Video Game sector represents a real bright spot in this otherwise terrible environment. In the week ending April 12, growth broke through the 100% year over year threshold, after nearly reaching that level in the prior week.
There is nothing positive developing in the Air Travel category, with growth declining roughly 95% year over year during the week of April 12.
Lodging continues to show similar performance to the Air Travel category, with consumer spending falling around 80% year over in the week of April 12. Any upward trend in this segment is likely to move in tandem with the Air Travel category.
After a surge in early March and sharp decline the week of March 29, spending at Consumer Drug Stores/Pharmacies seems to return to pre-crisis levels, growing around 1% year over year in the week ending April 12.
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In week 3 of our FIRST reports, we have seen a mixture of moderating declines and
in some cases a return to pre-crisis growth rates. In addition, one category,
Video Games, is soaring as people look for entertainment options in a stay-at-home
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The second installment of our FIRST report brings little in the way of good
news on the state of the US consumer. Most sectors we tracked during the
week ending March 29 saw further declines.
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The very first FIRST Report where we took a look at four super categories
of the consumer economy: Retail, Entertainment, Travel, and Healthcare.
This report shows the initial implications on consumer spending that COVID-19
has had throughout the quarantine.
Read the Report >