U.S. Consumer Spending & Household Finances: November 2023

November 2023

Report summary

U.S. consumers said they spent slightly more in October, but gains were not uniform across categories. Discretionary services like travel propped up top-line growth, while purchases across many retail goods categories came in lower than in the same month a year ago. While slower inflation is a welcome relief to household finances, softer income growth and depleted savings may inhibit spending strength this holiday season, especially as certain groups grapple with higher debt burdens.

Key Takeaways

  • Consumer spending increased slightly in October as price relief for certain categories helped to support purchases.
  • Discretionary spending is increasingly tilting in favor of experiences outside the home, especially among young adults.
  • While residual strength in the labor market continues to support household finances, certain groups — including lower earners, student debt holders and parents — are experiencing growing budgetary pressures.

About the authors

A headshot photograph of Kayla Bruun
Kayla Bruun
Senior Economist

Kayla Bruun is a senior economist at decision intelligence company Morning Consult, where she analyzes consumer spending, inflation and household finance trends, leveraging the company’s proprietary high-frequency data.

Prior to joining Morning Consult, Kayla was a key member of the corporate strategy team at telecommunications company SES, where she produced market intelligence and industry analysis of mobility markets. 

Kayla also served as an economist at IHS Markit, where she covered global services industries, provided price forecasts, produced written analyses and served as a subject-matter expert on client-facing consulting projects. 

Kayla earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University and an MBA with a certificate in nonmarket strategy from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Follow her on Twitter @KaylaBruun. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected]

A headshot photograph of Sofia Baig
Sofia Baig

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.

Follow her on Twitter @_SofiaBaig_For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected]