Americans Are Regaining Consumer Confidence — Here’s What They’re Buying

Two smiling shopaholic women enjoying in shopping, having fun together in the city.
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Several markers are pointing to economic recovery in the United States, including impulse spending on the rise, a healthy job market, and Moody’s Analytics and CNN Business’ Back-to-Normal Index reporting that the economy is operating at 89% of pre-pandemic levels. Plus, a new survey by Charles Schwab showed that 47% of people polled are ready to return to their spending habits from before the pandemic, which includes splurging on travel, entertainment and even parties, MarketWatch reported.

See: Signs We’re Bouncing Back: 6 Ways Americans’ Spending Has Changed Since Last Year
Find: Americans Are Ready To Travel Again: Here’s How Much They Plan To Spend on Vacations This Year

The Schwab 2021 Modern Wealth Survey showed that Americans are planning to spend money in the following areas:

  • Traveling (40%)
  • Socializing (30%)
  • Extended Vacations (24%)
  • Dining out at an upscale restaurant (21%)
  • Throwing a party (15%)

More Americans Get Back to Pre-pandemic Activities

Similarly, the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index revealed that 54% of Americans reported going out to eat within the past week. MarketWatch said it’s the first time in over a year that more than half of those surveyed said they ate out.

The index also revealed that close to 60% visited relatives or friends in the past week, another one-year high.

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Spending Rises and Credit Card Debt Falls

U.S. Census data showed at 726.8% rise in clothing and accessory sales in April 2021. As dressing rooms began to open back up, Americans went shopping for clothes to support a return to the office place or social events with family and friends.

See: US Credit Card Debt at Lowest Since 2000
Find: Inflation’s Ups and Downs: How It Impacts Your Wallet

At the same time, credit card balances continued to drop in the first quarter, MarketWatch reported.

There was a decline in credit-card balances in the first quarter of 2021. “However, surging retail sales volumes suggest that a combination of stimulus checks, increased consumer confidence and pent-up demand are both supporting consumption and also helping borrowers reduce revolving debt balances,” Andrew Haughwout, senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, told MarketWatch.

However, rising inflation could put a damper on spending dreams, MarketWatch reports. The inflation rate reached 4.2% in April, up from 2.6% in March, however, those numbers were largely driven by used car and truck prices, which rose due to increased demand and a lack of supply.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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