Gen X and homegoods are key to jump in confidence

Consumers’ spending confidence jumped in March—lifted mostly by Gen X consumers with a college degree, and strong plans to spend in homegoods categories.

Whether the confidence pickup actually revives the recent spending trend (see more here) will depend, however, on the latest economic events affecting business investment, jobs, and ultimately household paychecks.

The belated impact of tax cuts was probably the economic event boosting spending confidence in March. That benefit is now at risk of being offset by the negative impact of tariffs on trade and potential U.S. trade wars.

In the meantime, if households are able to act on changes in their confidence to spend over the next 90 days, then here is what the trends suggest by category and generation:

  • Homegoods. The spending plans for homegoods are particularly robust because they come on top of a strong prior month. Gen X drove part of the pickup in this category along with another key demographic segment. See the report below for more.
  • Clothing. The clothing category showed a month-to-month pickup in confidence to spend that was just as strong as homegoods. The pickup, however, was especially concentrated in one demographic segment. See report below for more.
  • Leisure goods. Confidence to spend on these goods—including sporting goods, toys, music, and videos—improved month-to-month even more than homegoods. The pickup, however, was led by a key generational group other than Gen X. See the report below for more.
  • Electronics. The electronics category sustained average overall gains in confidence to spend in March, but remained relatively weak among an important generational group. For more, see the report below.
  • Health & beauty. Confidence to spend on health and beauty picked up in March after slipping for two-straight months. The pickup was particularly strong, however, among a key generational group. See the report below for more.
  • Food & grocery. Spending confidence in the food and grocery categories in March kept to its below average gains. The gains were a bit stronger, however, among two segments. See the report below for more.

These are among the takeaways from data through March 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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