Even Upper Income Daily Spending Down

According to a new Gallup Poll, U.S. consumers reported spending $70 per day on average in June, essentially unchanged from $73 in May, and similar to June spending levels in each of the past two years.

These figures are based on Americans' self-reports of the total amount they spent "yesterday" in stores, gas stations, restaurants, or online... not counting home and vehicle purchases, or normal monthly bills. Thus far in 2012, average daily spending has ranged from $63 (in January and February) to $74 (in March). This is in line with the "new normal" reduced spending in place since 2009, narrowly ranging from $58 to $76.

Monthly Trend in US Adult Average Spending “Yesterday”

Year

Self-Reported Daily Spending

2008

$104

2009

61

2010

67

2011

69

2012

70

Source: Gallup Daily Tracking, July 2012

Average daily spending among upper-income Americans earning $90,000 or more annually, fell to $116 in June from $136 in May. This mirrors a decline in upper-income Americans' confidence in the economy over the same period, with the Gallup Economic Confidence Index for this group dropping to -17 in June from -9 in May. Upper-income Americans' willingness to spend may have been hampered by the compounding effect of the stock market's uneven performance in June and a sharp decline in the market in May.

At the same time, overall spending remained fairly flat for the month due to stability in lower- and middle-income Americans' average daily spending, which was unchanged at $60, similar to where it has been for the past year.

Consumer Average Daily Spending Estimates (Americans; 2011, 2012)

 

Upper Income Spending

Lower/Middle Income Spending

2011

   January

$102

$50

   March

108

57

   May

126

59

   July

128

63

   September

108

59

   November

143

64

2012

   January

$110

$55

   March

131

62

   May

136

60

   June

116

60

Source: Gallup Daily Tracking, July 2012

Another reason consumer spending wasn't higher in June, says the report, may involve restrained spending in the East. Residents there reported average daily spending of $59 last month, down from $68 in May and well below the region's $71 average for the first five months of the year. By contrast, June spending in the Midwest, South, and West was on par with average spending from January through May.

Americans’ Average Daily Spending (Region; Not including home, motor vehicle, or normal household bills)

 

Average Daily Spend

Region

Jan-May, 2012

June, 2012

East

$71

$59

Midwest

67

71

South

67

73

West

73

73

Source: Gallup Daily Tracking, July 2012

At the same time, June spending patterns by gender and age were entirely consistent with what Gallup typically records. Men's average daily spending continued to outpace women's by a hefty margin, likely reflecting men's higher average income. Adults aged 30 to 49 -- the age group with both the highest income and the greatest likelihood of having a child under 18 at home -- continued to outspend both younger and older Americans.

Americans’ Average Daily Spending (Gender and Age)

Group

Jan-May 2012

June 2012

Men

$83

$81

Women

56

59

Age

   18-29

$64

$63

   30-49

80

80

   50-64

70

65

   ≥ 65

54

66

Source: Gallup Daily Tracking, July 2012

At $70, Americans' average daily spending in June was consistent with recent monthly spending levels, and roughly matched June spending in 2010 and 2011. While this represents a more confident consumer than Gallup found in June 2009, spending remains suppressed compared with the $104 average in June 2008.

The report concludes by noting that onsumer spending might have increased in June if not for the pullback seen among upper-income Americans and residents of the East. Falling gas prices nationwide may also have played a role, particularly if Americans didn't use the money they saved on gas for other types of purchases.

The study provides a 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point, while he estimates for average daily spending have a margin of sampling error of ±$4.

For additional data from the Gallup study, please visit here.

 

 

 

Recommend (2)
2 comments about "Even Upper Income Daily Spending Down".
  1. Mark Walker from aka Media Mark , July 24, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
    YUP! We spend MORE, they MAKE more and they spend LESS. That's "trickle-on" economics, alright!
  2. Ngoc T from Iowa , July 27, 2012 at 8:51 a.m.
    Thank you, Jack!