Each month, Bespoke runs a survey of 1,500 US consumers balanced to census. In the survey, we cover everything you can think of regarding the economy, personal finances, and consumer spending habits. We’ve now been running the monthly survey for more than two years, so we have historical trend data that is extremely valuable, and it only gets more valuable as time passes. All of this data gets packaged into our monthly Bespoke Consumer Pulse Report, which is included as part of our Pulse subscription package that is available for either $39/month or $365/year. We highly recommend trying out the service, as it includes access to model portfolios and additional consumer reports as well. If you’re not yet a Pulse member, click here to start a 30-day free trial now! Below we highlight the results of questions we ask regarding discretionary spending and inflation expectations. These are two of literally hundreds of data points included in each monthly report.
Our monthly tracker for expected discretionary spending over the next few months broke out in November to its highest levels in the history of our survey. Obviously, seasonal strength is a major contributor as holiday spending drives a huge portion of total US consumer spend, but this result also suggests that the Black Friday to December holiday shopping period is trending towards exceptionally strong levels. As the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracker of Q4 growth is expecting total growth of +3.6%, if this holiday season proves to be as strong as our tracker seems to indicate, then that number could be setting up for a 4-handle GDP in Q4 2016.
Piggybacking off consumer expectations, one interesting development in the data this month was that we saw a steep drop-off in inflation expectations (lower chart). The average expected price increase over the next one, five, and ten years all fell sharply for a typically stable tracker from month to month. There doesn’t seem to be a good explanation for this decline, but given the prior trend of accelerating price pressures (which have also been visible in market pricing of inflation, realized CPI and PCE inflation, commodity prices, and other indicators) the sharp shift was eye-catching.
Want to see more of our proprietary survey analysis, including data for individual consumer technology stocks? If you’re not yet a Pulse member, click here to start a 30-day free trial and view our full November Pulse report.