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

October 2023

Report summary

Overall 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.

Key Takeaways

  • Average monthly spending held steady in September following two months of declines.
  • High- and middle-income consumers, who propped up spending this summer, are driving much of the pullbacks this fall.
  • As interest rates remain elevated, certain consumers may be feeling the impacts more than others.

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]