Confidence suggests post-holiday return to less robust spending

Gen X consumers and the clothing category were the weakest links as a second straight monthly decline in spending confidence suggests a post-holiday return to less robust spending.

See more about holiday results here.

Millennials also showed weakness in their confidence to spend over the next 90 days—especially in discretionary categories to an even greater extent than Gen X.

The Gen X letup—which is quite pronounced over consecutive months—likely does not signal the start of a prolonged slowdown, given the boost that spending is likely to receive from tax cuts.

At the same time, the spending trend will continue to be marked by generational differences by category—even as e-commerce is favored over spending at stores:

  • Clothing. Clothing took another hit to confidence to spend in January for a second straight month. The weakness was across the board, but most severe in two important generational groups. See report below for more.
  • Electronics. Electronics was the strongest category in January in terms of confidence to spend. The strength was focused in an especially important generational group. For more, see the report below.
  • Homegoods. Overall confidence to spend on homegoods edged lower in January, but was particularly weak among one key group. See the report below for more.
  • Leisure goods. Confidence to spend on these goods—including sporting goods, toys, music, and videos—slipped for a second straight month. The slippage was across generations. See the report below for more.
  • Health & beauty. Confidence to spend on health and beauty weakened again in January on the heels of a sizeable letup in December. The weakness was focused in two key generations. See the report below for more.
  • Food & grocery. Spending confidence in the food and grocery categories held steady in January, but showed some weakness focused in one key generational group. See the report below for more.

These are among the takeaways from data through January 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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