October 2023 U.S. Consumer Spending and Household Finances Charts
This chart pack provides a curated summary of Morning Consult’s proprietary Economic Intelligence data on U.S. consumer spending and household finances. Morning Consult Economic Intelligence clients can access the complete report here.
Chart pack highlights:
- Average consumer spending remained relatively flat in September following two consecutive months of declines.
- High- and middle-income consumers have pulled back their spending on many discretionary goods and services.
- Higher earners are paying down debts, while pockets of vulnerable consumers are more exposed to credit and interest rate risk.
Highlights from this report
Overall consumer spending momentum continues to look subdued relative to where things stood this past summer. Although spending increased for certain retail categories, overall average monthly consumer spending remained flat in September. High- and middle-income consumers drove the spending declines, while low-income consumers spent slightly more. Household finances are mixed — wealthier consumers prioritize paying down debts, while their lower-earning counterparts continue to take on more debt.
Higher-Spending Alcohol Customers Are Purchasing Less, Both at Home and at Bars
The drop in alcohol purchases is one example of the recent pullbacks. Spending on alcohol for the average high-income consumer ticked up through the second quarter of this year, peaking at above $70 in July. Since then, alcohol spending for households earning $100k or more annually has dropped sharply to just above $50 per month in September. At the same time, a smaller share of high-income earners report that they are buying alcohol from a liquor store or going to a bar at least once a month after peaking earlier this year. Alcohol spending for low- and middle-income earners has remained relatively stable, increasing slightly in September after small declines through the summer months.
About the author
Sofia Baig is an economist at decision intelligence company Morning Consult, where she works on descriptive and predictive analysis that leverages Morning Consult’s proprietary high-frequency data. Previously, she worked for the Federal Reserve Board as a quantitative analyst, focusing on topics related to monetary policy and bank stress testing. She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Pomona College and a master’s degree in mathematics and statistics from Georgetown University.