Consumer Checkpoint: Another month of moderation

Low- and high-income household spending growth converges, high-income wage growth ticks up, and deposits remain elevated.

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David Tinsley

Headshot of Anna Zhou

Anna Zhou

Headshot of Taylor Bowley

Taylor Bowley

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Liz Everett Krisberg

November 2023

Key takeaways

  • Consumer spending moderated in October with total card spending falling 0.2% month-over-month (MoM), seasonally adjusted, according to Bank of America internal data. This month, we saw a meaningful convergence between lower- and higher-income households' spending growth, which could be partly explained by the rebound in wage growth for the latter.
  • That said, rising mortgage payments have started to disproportionately weigh on some higher-income households, as suggested by Bank of America internal data. This has led to slower spending for homeowners relative to high-income renters. If rent inflation softens further, renter spending outperformance could play out in middle- and lower-income families too.
  • The good news is that despite a jump in households resuming student loan repayments, we see little sign yet of a negative impact on spending. Household balance sheets also remain in robust shape. Bank of America data on a fixed group of households' median savings and checking balances suggest these remain elevated relative to pre-pandemic. People also do not appear to be adjusting their retirement savings.

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

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.