Spending confidence lifted by Millennials, held back by Boomers

Millennials again led the spending confidence of consumers higher in July—with the clothing and homegoods categories benefiting most from stronger confidence to spend over the next 90 days.

The recent confidence surge among Millennials suggests they are ready to spend more freely. They are putting behind them a cautiousness that set in after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Boomers, in contrast, are pulling the reins on their confidence to spend after it climbed sharply in the wake of the 2016 election.

What does this mean for spending? For the longer-term, see the consumer goods outlook at this link. For the months ahead, the mixed sentiment among generations suggests a similarly mixed spending outlook.

See below for what the latest confidence data suggest by category. For a summary across key economic indicators, see the latest post and data storyboard here.

  • Clothing. Confidence to spend on clothing moved higher led by one key generational group. However, confidence also was stronger among two other groups. This may explain the relative strength of apparel specialty stores evident in the latest retail sales data (see related post here). See the report below for more on clothing spending confidence.
  • Homegoods. The opportunity in homegoods appeared focused in one key generation in July, given mostly flat confidence to spend on homegoods among other groups. See the report below for more.
  • Leisure goods. Confidence to spend on these goods—including sporting goods, toys, music, and videos—showed strength at an aggregate level in July. This strength was led by two demographic segments. See the report below for more.
  • Health & beauty. Confidence to spend on health and beauty categories was much stronger in one key segment in July—although it only edged higher in the aggregate across generations. See the report below for more.
  • Electronics. Confidence to spend on electronics continued to show mixed signs through July. On one hand, the category’s 12-month average gains are the strongest of any category. On the other hand, the category remains relatively weak with a key generation. See the report below for more.
  • Food & grocery. Spending confidence in this category remained mostly weak-to-modest in July, with only one sign of relative strength among generations. See the report below for more.

These are among the takeaways from data through July 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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