Visa, with the largest payment infrastructure globally, says Americans modestly increased spending in April with growth across most major purchase categories.
According to Visa’s Retail Spending Monitor retail spending in April was up 4.5%from the prior year, excluding automobile and gasoline purchases. Eleven of the fourteen major spending categories that Visa tracks showed growth from the prior year.
Several discretionary categories showed solid increases in April from the prior year, with some eclipsing their March growth rates. The increase suggests that American households with incomes greater than $100,000, who generally are more likely to be able to contribute to discretionary spending and less likely to be impacted by swings in gas prices, may be driving the increase in spending.
Household good spending, at places like electronics, appliance, and furniture stores, increased 5.1% in April from the prior year, compared to 1.5% in March.
Gas prices continue to affect consumers’ mind set and spending behavior. Prices have fallen 30% over the last year, averaging $2.47 per gallon in April. Consumers received an unexpected windfall on average of $1.19 per gallon compared to a year ago, or between $50 and $75 a month in average household savings.
However, a recent Visa survey found that, amid the increase in gas prices that began in February, more than half of respondents (52%) said that they planned to save the unexpected windfall from lower prices at the pump, while nearly a quarter (24%) said they planned to use it to pay down debt. Only 30% said they planned to spend more at other places.
For data, background and forecasts on Consumer Spending: Search CardWeb.com’s CardFlash® Library of more than 58,000 archived articles; Access CardWeb.com’s CardData® for current and historical Performance, Portfolios, Profiles, etc. Visit RAM Research® (ramresearch.com) for quarterly and annual forecasts covering more than 150 metrics. [complimentary or deeply discounted access to CardWeb.com subscribers].
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