Consumer Confidence or Contradiction
Is the consumer really feeling better?
With economic outlooks changing faster than Taylor Swift’s Eras tour wardrobe, getting a true read of ‘where are we now’ can feel like a fool’s errand.
Even turning to the consumer - the engine of the economy - yields a mixed signal.
Consumer sentiment has edged up over the past two quarters, after its free fall over the prior 5 quarters. While still well below the go-go days of early 2021, the consumer is expressing moderate hope.
And, comparing ecommerce traffic over the same periods, there’s a similar recovery - traffic has turned positive, though YoY comps are in the mid-single digits - an echo of what digital experienced in the digital-only days of 2020 and 2021, and still far short of the past decade’s norms.
That hope has not yet translated into consumer spending in ecommerce. The past 4 YoY quarters have been flat or down. And that’s not factoring the tempered-though-elevated inflation of the past quarter.
Don't let the experts fool you. Whether optimistic or pessimistic, any perceived grip on confidence is tenuous.