Purchase, N.Y. A report from Mastercard Advisors' SpendingPulse showed shoppers took a pause in May as they cut back on almost everything from appliances to shoes and clothing at the mall. More retail sectors showed a respite in year-over-year growth, according to the report, as slow economic recovery appeared to weigh on the U.S. consumer’s spending behaviors.
“The momentum in consumer spending that was building through the first quarter, seems to be taking a breather in second quarter 2010, at least so far,” said Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for SpendingPulse. “Financial volatility in the capital markets and ongoing macroeconomic issues could account for this shadow cast over the recovery in consumer spending.”
Nevertheless, McNamara continued, the company continues to see strength in pricing, and in most categories, it is registering solid increases in the SpendingPulse Price Index, indicating that inventories continue to be aligned to demand, and retailers have not had to return to steep discounting.
Among the strongest channels was e-commerce, which registered its eighth consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year growth, with sales increasing 13.7% over May 2009. The best performing sub-categories of e-commerce were children’s apparel and family apparel, growing 30.4% and 26.2% respectively, on a year-over-year basis.
Luxury sales continued to enjoy a rebound over 2009, posting its sixth consecutive month of year-over-year growth, with a 9.7% increase in May.
Jewelry also remained in positive territory enjoying a 6.4% increase for the category as a whole.
The consumer electronics category was down by 0.8%, while the appliance category remained flat.
In a second month of decline, total U.S. apparel decreased 3.7%, with declines in all sub-categories except children’s apparel. However, pricing continued to hold firm for the category as a whole, showing a healthy 5.4% increase in the overall apparel pricing index, on a year-over-year basis.