Infographic: Consumer Spending Statistics
American Consumer: Retail Therapy for Tough Economic Times
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With $1.3 trillion spent on arguably non-essentials items, CreditDonkey study reveals how consumers find the balance between prudence and extravagance.
Government data show consumer spending has been rising steadily out of the deepest trough of the Great Recession in June 2009 while credit card and retail industry data indicate that a more cautious shopper is emerging from the economic crisis.
Savings rates are up, revolving credit card debt is falling and some card brands report the average number of credit card transactions is down. Even so, American Express has found that the average dollar amount spent on each transaction is on the rise in merchandise categories that include items such as luxury jewelry and luxury department store apparel. The company reports that a “spend more, less frequently” trend is seen across all demographic groups, from average to affluent shoppers.
Analysts at First Data, an international credit card payment processor, recently released a report titled “Rebirth of Credit—Minus the Debt,” which describes a “new American consumer” who is a more “cash-conscious creature that emerged from the Great Recession.” According to the report, which is based on aggregated proprietary transaction data, February 2011 was the first month in which credit card use surpassed the use of debit cards after a two year shift toward cash-based bank cards.
"The picture that is coming into focus is an American shopper who is pinching pennies, buying generic brands and cutting back on trips to the salon but still rewarding herself or himself occasionally with a little retail therapy--balancing thrift with some extravagance," says Charles Tran, founder of the credit card comparison website, CreditDonkey.
A Look at Shopper Trends
Much like the stock market aggregates the activity of large and small investors to provide a general picture of the mood of American investors, the U.S. Department of Commerce uses personal consumption spending data adjusted for inflation as a broad overview of consumer activity. The ups, downs and trends across various types of goods and services provide a general picture of American shoppers.
With the recession still weighing heavily on all family budgets, we recommend consumers compare credit card deals as banks continue to offer big incentives to try to get consumers to switch credit cards.
Follow @CreditDonkey or write to Annette O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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