Flatlining: Consumers Are Spending Less Or The Same In Q2 As They Did In Q1

Email teams trying to drive ecommerce have reason to worry: consumer spending was flat in Q2, with 73% of online shoppers purchasing less or the same as Q1 and 72% of consumers overall showing a similar pattern,  according to the Q2 Consumer Trends report from Jungle Scout. 

Why? Rising costs: 81% say rising inflation has affected spending, while 63% are concerned about finances and 49% admit that their household income is unstable. Women are more likely than men to worry about family finances, at a ratio of 71% to 65%. 

Drilling down, 11% are expecting online decreases of 51-100%, and 10% foresee the same for all spending. Another 23% predict they will spend between 1% and 50% online and 24% say the overall.

In general, the biggest areas of cutback are: 

  • Dining out at restaurants/bars — 56% 
  • Fun/impulse purchases — 50% 
  • Clothing/accessories — 44% 
  • Leisure travel — 42% 
  • In-person entertainment (movies, concerts, etc.) — 42% 
  • Home improvement/decorating — 37% 
  • Holiday-related expenses — 37% 
  • Personal care service (hair/nail salons, spas, etc.) — 36% 
  • Groceries — 35% 
  • Streaming entertainment subscriptions (Netflix, iTunes, Audible, etc.) — 31%

However, 28% say their overall spending increased, up from 23% in the prior quarter. But opportunity exists, with 57% saying they shop online once a week or more, while 9% do so once a day and 11% shop online more than once per day. 

If there is a winner among retailers this quarter, it’s Walmart.  

Of the consumers polled, 60% shop at, compared to 26% for Target. Online, 40% buy at Walmart. But it’s a distant second to Amazon, where 70% shop. 

But 39% of consumers start their online product searches at up from 32% in Q2 2022. In contrast, has fallen from 61% to 57% in the same time frame, and search engines from 49% to 42%. 

Worried about returns? Clothing is by far the most returned item — 50% of consumers will bring it back. Next are automotive parts & accessories (23%), electronics (22%) and arts, crafts & sewing (21%).

Strangely, 14% will return books, magazines & newspapers and 14% will return alcohol. 

Consumers are more likely to return items if: 

  • there is no cost — 67%
  • the item can be returned in-store — 43% 
  • the item can be dropped off for return nearby (i.e., at the post office) — 40%
  • the item can be picked up for return from their home — 34%
  • shipping label(s) not required for the return — 28% 
  • the item doesn’t need to be repackaged for return — 23%

Jungle Scout surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers between May 8 and May 9, 2023. 


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