||Study Confirms Americans' Spending up 9 Percent Since 2009
U.S. consumers are spending again. After a prolonged lull following the 2008 recession's historic spending lows, consumers are now spending about nine percent more than they did just four years ago.
Gasoline, gift and healthcare spending have increased significantly, and the biggest spenders are men.
These are among the findings of the new Intuit Consumer Spending Index, from Intuit Inc., which provides a unique view into the U.S. economy. The Intuit Consumer Spending Index findings are based on anonymized, aggregated, transactional data from Mint.com, Intuit's online and mobile personal finance software.
The key takeaway? Americans are rebounding. The average household spent approximately $4,220 per month in the first three months of 2013 compared to $3,870 during the same period in 2009. The most dramatic increases came in Arkansas and the District of Columbia -- up 34 and 30 percent respectively -- with the District of Columbia also spending the most per household this year at $5,144 a month. By contrast, North and South Carolina each saw spending decrease by three percent.
The Intuit Consumer Spending Index is the only report that offers a near real-time view of actual spending, rather than survey responses of what people say they spend. It does so broadly across both categories and account types; and using opt-in demographic details from millions of users, the index accurately reflects the average American household's monthly spending by age, income level, state, and more.
Diving into the Data
By looking at all the various transactions made in more than 20 specific categories, the index shows the real-world impact of economic shifts. Analyzing spending patterns by age, state, income and gender also shows the relationship between demographic factors and individuals' spending habits. As a result, the index helps answer questions that have historically taken years to determine.
"The data we've examined here reflects a period when the country recovered from one of the most dramatic economic shifts in recent history -- showing how consumers tightened, and have since loosened spending," said Scott R. Baker, Stanford University economist and the data scientist working with Intuit to develop the index. "It demonstrates how Intuit's data can show the real-world impact of macro-economic trends on how people live."
Among the insights the index reveals:
(Source: Business Wire, 05/08/13)
- Gender gap: Men consistently spend $600 to $700 more a month than women. Where? In the first quarter of 2013, men spent more on alcohol (37 percent), entertainment (27 percent), eating out (29 percent), gas (19 percent) and overall shopping (six percent). However, women spend 21 percent more on clothing and apparel.
- Gourmet goes mainstream: Grocery spending has increased by 17 percent, due in part to the price of premium groceries. For example, Californians are spending nearly 20 percent more at premium grocers like Whole Foods Market, while they've pulled back by three percent at more general grocers.
- No more reservations about restaurants: Restaurant spending has also increased, up 11 percent, echoing what Mint.com users say: Eating out is the first area they cut when they want to save money. The recovery sends them back out, especially those under 36, who are spending 40 percent more now.
- Wallets wide open at the pump: Gasoline is one of the fastest-growing categories, close to doubling in the time examined. The average American household spent $198 a month on gas in the first three months of 2013, compared to $110 a month during the same time period in 2009. Continued high prices at the pump are the leading cause, with the cost of crude oil doubling from 2009 to 2013. Looking at how gas spending breaks down across state lines, Wyoming and Iowa were hit the hardest, with spending nearly tripling. On the other hand, Pennsylvania's only increased 31 percent.
- Healthy, not wealthy: Healthcare spending has increased at one of the fastest rates since 2009, with average increases more than 30 percent. While older people (41-55) spend more than $300 each month, younger people saw the most dramatic increase. Their spending increased by more than 40 percent since the first three months of 2009. For example, 26-31 year olds' healthcare spending rose from $179 a month in the first quarter of 2009 to $252 a month so far this year.
- Growth in giving: Though overall spending has increased nine percent, a disproportionate amount of that is in gift giving and charitable donations, where Americans have become 47 percent more generous since 2009.