Millennials lead Spending Confidence lower in April

Millennials pulled down consumers’ confidence to spend in April—with the food and clothing categories taking the brunt of weaker spending confidence.

The latest results tend to confirm that a brief Spring burst of confidence in the wake of tax cuts is being deflated by economic jitters fed by talk of trade wars, rising fuel prices, and other news.

Weaker confidence to spend should ensure that retail spending keeps to a slower pace compared with the strong November-December holiday period (more on retail spending here).

Below are the highlights from spending confidence by category and generation:

  • Food & grocery. Spending confidence in the food and grocery categories sagged in April amid rising prices, especially for fuel. The decline was particularly striking among one key demographic segment. See the report below for more.
  • Clothing. Confidence to spend on clothing edged lower overall in April, but weakened significantly among one key segment. The early Easter may have contributed to the letup. See report below for more.

Spending confidence in other categories largely held steady overall, but there were some differences by demographic segments among the categories:

  • Electronics. The electronics category held up best among the remaining categories, but showed a bit of strength among two generational groups in particular. For more, see the report below.
  • Homegoods. While holding relatively steady overall, spending plans for homegoods showed a bit of weakness in one segment and some strength in another. See the report below for more.
  • Leisure goods. Confidence to spend on these goods—including sporting goods, toys, music, and videos—weakened to varying degrees among two demographic segments even as confidence to spend in the category overall held steady. See the report below for more.
  • Health & beauty. Confidence to spend on health and beauty held relatively steady overall in April, except for weakness focused in one generational group. See the report below for more.

These are among the takeaways from data through April from the Spending Confidence Index™, which is the proprietary index of consumer sentiment created by MacroSavvy™ based on data from Prosper Insights and Analytics™.

For more background about the Spending Confidence Index™ and its components, the white paper at this link explains why the new index is an improvement over existing measures of confidence.

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