Lower- and middle-income Americans’ self-reported average daily spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $48 per day during September 2010, down 12.5% from August and 33% from July 2010, according to results of a new Gallup Poll.
All But Wealthiest Americans Report Record Low Spending
Consumer discretionary spending by these Americans making less than $90,000 a year is now at its lowest level since Gallup began daily tracking in January 2008, as the recession was just getting underway.
Meanwhile, upper-income Americans (those earning more than $90,000 a year) reported spending an average of $118 per day in September 2010, up 8% from August 2010 but virtually the same as they spent in June and July 2010.
Gallup data indicates spending among this group is not much different from the $114 they spent in September 2009. Only once , in May, has 2010 upper-income spending exceeded the 2009 “new normal” upper-income spending range of $107 to $121 per day ($185).
Overall Spending Ties Previous Lows
Overall, Americans’ spending averaged $59 per day during September 2010, down 6% from $63 in August 2010 and 13% from $68 in July, and 11% lower than the $66 of September 2009. Americans’ spending has generally been running slightly higher in 2010 than it did in 2009, though substantially below the recessionary spending levels of 2008. September 2010 overall spending matches the previous lows of February 2010 and March 2009.
Taxes Cut Into Consumer Spending
The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index fell 6.6% in September 2010 compared with August 2010, due to what Deloitte identifies as a climbing tax burden and continued weakness in the housing market. The Index attempts to track consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.