Overall self-reported daily US consumer spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $69 per day during June 2011, unchanged from May 2011 and essentially the same as the $67 average of June 2010, according to Gallup daily tracking data. Consumer spending has shown no improvement during the first half of 2011 compared with 2010, but remains slightly higher than in 2009.
‘New Normal’ Spending Well Below 2008
Spending in all three years from 2009-2011 has been in what economists call the “new normal” range set during the recession, at levels far below those of 2008. For example, average daily consumer spending in June 2008 was $104, or 51% higher than June 2011.
Upper-Income Spending Also Reflects ‘New Normal’
Upper-income spending (among Americans making $90,000 or more annually) averaged $124 per day in June 2011, essentially the same as the $126 of May and not much higher than the $119 average of June 2010.
Although these Americans are likely to have more disposable income to spend freely when they choose, Gallup analysis indicates they also continue to hold back and to spend within the “new normal” range, which is far below what they were spending three years ago. In June 2011, upper-income Americans averaged daily spending of $165, or 33% higher than June 2011.
Mid- and Lower-Income Consumer Spending Follows General Pattern
Americans who make less than $90,000 per year reported spending an average of $61 per day during June, up slightly from the previous three months. However, these Americans’ spending habits during the first half of 2011 have remained in the 2009-2010 “new normal” range. In June 2008, mid- and lower-income consumers spent an average of $93 per day, exactly 50% more than in June 2011.
Consumers Cutting Spending Down 7% in 2 Yrs
In other Gallup economic data, when Gallup first asked US consumers if they were cutting back weekly spending in June 2009, a two-year high of 72.8% said they were. In June 2011, 67.8% of consumers say they are cutting back weekly spending. That means the percentage of consumers cutting weekly spending has fallen about 7% in two years.
On a month-over-month basis, the percentage of consumers cutting back weekly spending has fallen about 4% from 70.4%. However, a two-year low 65.4% of consumers answered this question positively in February 2011, meaning the percentage has risen 4% since hitting that historic low point.
Although Gallup predicts consumer spending may increase in the next few months, it also says the results show that the majority of Americans consistently view themselves as making an effort to cut back on spending, which in turn underscores the idea that most Americans are looking for ways to save money.
About the Data: National results for June 2011 are based on Gallup daily tracking interviews with 14,965 employees conducted June 1-30, 2011.