NPD: Consumers’ shopping baskets still filled with mix of needs and wants

Port Washington, NY – Consumers continued to spend on both necessities and non-essential items through the week of April 26 to May 2.

But this rate was 4% down from U.S. general merchandise sales a year ago.

General merchandise categories include home and housewares as well as apparel, footwear, auto aftermarket, watches, small domestic appliances, toys, video, sports accessories, consumer technology, office supplies, prestige beauty and juvenile products.

These latest shopping trends are among The NPD Group’s findings from its most recent “Point-of-Sale Early Indicator Report.”

Additionally, the latest checkout receipt data indicated that for the second consecutive week, total purchasing traffic – as measured by receipts – showed improvement in total retail compared to the prior week.

While encouraging, this news “comes with a level of caution,” the consumer research firm warned. “Two strong weeks, aided by Economic Impact Payments, do not mean we are out of the woods yet. But it is a sure sign that when consumers are funded with either income or aid, they will spend.”

NPD added it is important to note that consumers are spending differently because their lives have changed. Watching these shifts will be critical to understanding how retailers can be ready to meet consumer demands in the next phase of recovery.

“The consumer’s buying behavior has been consistently changing over the past several weeks, and with much uncertainty still looming it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD Group chief industry advisor, retail. “As the consumer’s lifestyle goes through this transformation, retail needs to hone in on opportunities to address those changes in order to achieve sustainable long-term growth.”

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