SUMMARY: Stuck at home and unable to spend as much as they normally would in restaurants, bars, and cinemas, consumers have accumulated $1.6trn in excess savings during the past year. They’re ready to spend, but what will they find when they return to brick-and-mortar stores?
QUICK READ: Consumers will start spending again one they feel that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
According to Gallup: Americans’ careful spending habits characterize an economy still struggling to get on its feet and households continuing to find ways to pinch pennies to make ends meet. The poll results underscore the tension between doing what is right for the larger economy — spending more — and doing what is right for one’s personal economy — spending responsibly and reducing expenses. Using coupons, price shopping, buying store brands or generics, and sticking to a budget are some of the ways Americans are trying to do more with less. A majority of consumers are using coupons when they shop, suggesting that coupon use, as well as other ways of obtaining price discounts, is firmly entrenched in the American consumer’s mindset.
Consumers revved up their borrowing in April, with growth in credit card debt accelerating at the fastest pace in more than a dozen years. Increased household borrowing can drive stronger consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S. Alan Levenson, chief economist at investment firm T. Rowe Price, said that the momentum is likely to continue in coming months, helped by rising employment and steady income growth that will make people more willing to take on debt. So is your organization ready to respond or have you let go so many people that you’re shorthanded while marketing budgets have been cut?