Consumer spending has bounced back, but still not to year-ago levels and with wide variances by state and sector, according to new data from Commerce Signals, which tracks and analyzes credit and debit-card spending.
For the four weeks ending July 25, overall card spending was down 2.3 percent vs. a year ago. While 2.3 percent isn’t great, it definitely beats the decline of more than 30 percent seen in March. Travel spending is still down 65 percent year-over-year, but better than its lowest point of down 80 percent.
In-store spending was down 12.3 percent, offset by online spending up 22.2 percent. But states where COVID-19 cases have surged recently didn’t see nearly the same level of recovery, with card sales in Texas, Arizona, Florida and California off 11.8 percent. Meanwhile, some Midwest and Southern states actually saw sales up year over year, including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and South Dakota, says Nick Mangiapane, chief marketing officer of Commerce Signals, a unit of Verisk Financial. He cautioned that card sales are probably doing better than overall sales, because some stores aren’t accepting cash, or consumers are less likely to be using cash or spending at places where they use it.
The data puts in context recent gains reported by Amazon, with North American product sales up 40 percent last quarter. Despite that surge, Amazon may have actually meant losing market share, as Commerce Signals shows online sales overall in grocery, mass, club, hardware and home stores and sporting goods retailers all rising faster than that. Sporting goods and hobby stores saw sales soar 59 percent for the four-week period vs. a year ago—22 percent in store and 149 percent online—a sign that while people may be staying home more, they’re not just watching Netflix.
–Jack Neff, AdAge
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