The latest results and forecasts from retailers indicate that U.S. consumer spending is under stress due to increased living costs and existing debts, posing challenges for the retail sector during the back-to-school and holiday seasons.
Major U.S. retailers are returning to "just-in-time" inventory strategies after pandemic-related shipping problems, reducing inventories by 4% in the second quarter and putting themselves in a better position for the peak holiday season.
Americans continued to spend on dining out despite concerns about recession and inflation, with retail sales at restaurants and bars increasing by 11.8% in July and 9.5% in June compared to the same period last year, according to the Commerce Department. The strong consumer spending in this sector is seen as a positive sign for the economy and has been reflected in the earnings growth of restaurant companies.
US consumer spending increased by the most in six months in July, driven by strong demand for goods and services, but slowing inflation rates suggest that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged next month.
Consumer spending in the US jumped 0.8% in July, the strongest monthly gain since January, driven by purchases of restaurants, live shows, toys, games, and recreational equipment; however, underlying data suggests that this spending may be on borrowed time.
Consumer spending is driving third-quarter GDP growth, but unsustainable spending habits, tightening lending standards, and the depletion of pandemic savings may lead to a decline in consumer spending in early 2024.
U.S. consumer spending increased in July, boosting the economy and reducing recession risks, but the pace is likely unsustainable as households dip into their savings and face potential challenges from student debt repayments and higher borrowing costs.
Concerns about a slowdown in consumer spending are present, but customers are still spending on technology and designer brands; however, if job levels cannot be maintained, there could be a corrective mode due to depleted savings.
British consumer spending growth slowed in August, despite a surge in cinema takings after the release of films like "Barbie", with spending on essentials such as food and fuel growing at its slowest rate since April 2020, pointing to a weakening economy.
U.S. manufactured goods orders experienced a significant 2.1% decline in July, the first drop in four months, due in part to higher interest rates impacting business equipment spending.
U.S. manufacturers reported a decline in business activity for the 10th consecutive month in August, but the declines are becoming less widespread, suggesting that the trough in the cycle may be approaching.
Consumer spending has remained resilient, preventing the US economy from entering a recession, and this trend will likely continue due to low household debt-to-income levels.
The US consumer is predicted to experience a decline in personal consumption in early 2024, which could lead to a potential recession and downside for stocks, as high borrowing costs and dwindling Covid-era savings impact household budgets.
Holiday sales in the United States are expected to grow at their slowest pace in five years, as consumers are cautious due to dwindling savings and concerns over the economy, with online shopping expected to be a bright spot.
U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in August due to higher gasoline prices, but underlying spending on goods slowed as Americans faced increased inflation and borrowing costs, while the trend in underlying spending on goods was not as robust as initially thought in July. Despite this, overall consumer spending is expected to remain strong, driven by spending on services.
US retail sales, excluding automotive, are expected to rise by 3.7% over the holiday shopping season, indicating a return to pre-pandemic levels of holiday spending, driven by a more normal inflation environment and consumers' willingness to spend on experiences, electronics, and dining out.