Consumers spent an average of $66 per day last month, according to polling released this week by Gallup. That’s 10 percent higher than the figure for last April. Middle- and lower-income respondents accounted for the gain, as daily outlays by upper-income respondents were flat.
The ongoing survey examines “the average dollar amount Americans report spending or charging on a daily basis, not counting the purchase of a home, motor vehicle, or normal household bills.” Gallup notes in its analysis of the April spending data that higher gas prices account for some of the year-to-year increase, but suggests that “the improving jobs situation likely also contributed.”
This April’s average daily spending was up 5 percent from the previous month, even though most of the week leading up to Easter (which, as Gallup notes, “usually brings a spike in spending”) fell in March this year.
There was considerable variation in daily spending from region to region. April’s figure was highest in the West, at $72 per day, and lowest in the East, at $56, with the Midwest ($65) and South ($68) falling in between.
The West also had the steepest year-to-year increase (18 percent), vs. gains of 14 percent in the Midwest and 10 percent in the South. Average daily spending in the East was actually down, by 2 percent, vs. last April.
Looking at the absence of a daily-spending surge on the part of the polling’s upper-income respondents, Gallup interprets this to mean that “the 2009 spending ‘new normal’ continues to dominate” in this cohort.