Deloitte's US Consumer Spending Index, which tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending, rose marginally in April, driven by downward movement in unemployment insurance claims, increase in median house prices

NEW YORK , May 23, 2014 (press release) – The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index (Index) was marginally up in April. The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending[i].

"Real consumer spending has held up in recent months, and the outlook continues to remain positive," said Daniel Bachman, Deloitte's senior U.S. economist. "The slight uptick in the Index was primarily due to the downward movement of unemployment insurance claims and the increase in median house prices. The decrease in the employment insurance claims was confirmed by the favorable April employment figures. Coupled with steady home prices, this will lift consumers' ability and willingness to spend."

The Index, which comprises four components – tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices – increased to 3.88 this month from 3.51 last month.

"Retailers should take advantage of positive market conditions and consider how to extend sales momentum into the summer," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and Retail & Distribution sector leader. "Retailers' digital efforts can get consumers' attention and boost sales in the store, if organized effectively. For example, rather than simply using online and mobile applications to drive purchases through those channels, retailers should consider the summer activities, vacations or events that influence purchases, and weave those into the digital experiences they offer. Deloitte's latest research, The New Digital Divide, confirms that digital devices actually increase conversion rates by 40 percent when used before and during the shopping process, translating to a higher revenue opportunity for retailers that link their digital efforts to the in-store shopping journey, rather than exclusively focusing on driving online or mobile sales."

Highlights of the Index include:

Tax Burden: The tax rate is holding steady for the fifth straight month at 11.8 percent.

Initial Unemployment Claims: Claims fell 6.5 percent from the same period last year to 321,000, also reflecting a 4.8 percent decline from the prior month's rate of 337,000.

Real Wages: Real hourly wages are gradually rising. They were up 1.0 percent from this time last year to $8.83, but slightly down by 0.3 percent from the prior month's reading of $8.86.

Real Median New Home Price: New home prices rose 10.9 percent from the prior month to $123,000. Over the past 12 months they have risen 3.6 percent. The real median new home price went up in March for the first time in the past five months.

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 80 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 www.deloitte.com/us/retail-distribution.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about 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.

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SOURCE Deloitte


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