Consumer Checkpoint

New year, new challenges

Headshot of David Tinsley

David Tinsley

Headshot of Anna Zhou

Anna Zhou

Headshot of Taylor Bowley

Taylor Bowley

January 2023

Consumer Checkpoint is a regular publication from Bank of America Institute. It aims to provide a holistic and real-time estimate of U.S. consumers’ spending and their financial well-being, leveraging the depth and breadth of Bank of America proprietary data. Any such Bank of America proprietary data is not intended to be reflective or indicative of, and should not be relied upon as, the results of operations, financial conditions or performance of Bank of America.

Key takeaways

  • 2022 was a solid year for consumer spending. The main theme was the rotation towards ‘experiences’ and away from goods. Total card spending per household finished the year up 2.2% year-over-year (YoY) in December, boosted by services spending. However, with headwinds growing for the consumer, spending growth slowed across the year. Our holiday tracker (which looks at a specific subset of goods in November and December) was down 3.0% YoY, according to Bank of America credit and debit card data.
  • In 2023, consumers may face a weaker job market, but also easing inflation pressures. The labor market remains buoyant for now, however Bank of America data shows signs of easing wage inflation, with after-tax wages up just 3% in December. And consumers are still seeing higher cost of living, with average utility bill payments up 13% YoY in December.
  • January and February are typically lighter months for spending, but consumers’ New Year’s resolutions to get healthier may provide some support to spending: spending on gym memberships usually surges in January of each year.

Read our full analysis for a more in-depth look at these trends.