Deloitte Consumer Spending Index Continued Downward in January

The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index (Index) declined again in January for the third consecutive month.  The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending[i].

“The Index is down primarily due to slowing  increases of new home prices,” said Patricia Buckley, director, economic policy and analysis and author of the monthly Index.  “Looking ahead, gradual improvements in initial unemployment claims and real wages may help the Index reverse its course.  In the near term however, spending may remain constrained as consumers contend with taxes hikes and rising prices at the pump.”

The Index, which comprises four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell this month to 3.87 from a reading of 3.93 the previous month.  

“Shoppers are taking their annual post-holiday pause and may slow their spending even more as they adjust to higher payroll taxes,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and retail & distribution leader.  “The hit to consumers’ paychecks is likely to be more pronounced among lower- and middle-income Americans who may put household necessities on hold, not just discretionary items.  Retailers should hone in on price sensitivity, basket size, and traffic data using analytics to quickly respond with appropriate pricing, assortment and promotions rather than lose a shopper to a more competitive retailer.”

Highlights of the Index include:

Tax Burden: The tax burden fell slightly over the past two months and is just below 11 percent.

Initial Unemployment Claims: After rising in November to 405,750 due to Hurricane Sandy, jobless claims fell 11 percent in December to 361,400.  On a year-over-year basis, unemployment claims remained relatively unchanged.

Real Wages: With inflation in check, real wages have risen over the past two months to $8.76.

Real Home Prices:  Home prices continue to rise and are up 12 percent over a year ago, though the pace of increases is slowing.    

Following is a historical analysis of Deloitte’s Consumer Spending Index compared to real consumer spending:

About Deloitte’s Retail & Distribution Practice

Deloitte is a leading presence in the retail and distribution industry, providing audit, consulting, risk management, financial advisory and tax services to more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500 retailers.  With more than 1,400 professionals, Deloitte’s retail & distribution practice provides insights, services and solutions assisting retailers across all major subsectors including apparel, grocery, food and drug, wholesale and distribution and online. For more information about Deloitte’s retail & distribution sector, please visit

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.  Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

[i] The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index is a proprietary methodology that analyzes economic factors to gauge consumer cash flow as an indicator of future spending.  Deloitte’s analysis includes data from the U.S. Commerce Department, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Labor.

SOURCE Deloitte

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