Consumer Checkpoint

November 2022

Driving home for the holidays

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

  • Overall consumer spending growth continued to slow in October, though remains relatively perky on a nominal basis. Discretionary spending has shifted into a slower lane as the tailwind from lower income households (<$50k) fades. In October, discretionary spending per household rose 2.9% year-over-year (YoY), down from 3.2% in September; services spending continues to outperform weaker goods spending on a YoY basis.
  • Given that lower income households allocate a bigger share of total spend on goods, this could mean downside risks to holiday goods spending – the holiday sales tracker appears weaker than last year. It’s still fairly early days, but the Bank of America 2022 Winter Omnibus survey also suggests more consumers expect to spend ‘less’ than ‘more’ this holiday season.
  • Cars are an important part of the average family’s spending. Here limited supplies have pushed up car prices, meaning the average auto loan repayment by Bank of America customers jumped by 7% YoY in October. But there is a silver lining: as auto supply recovers, spending on cars may buck the overall trend of weakening discretionary consumption.
  • Total payments growth was a solid 9% YoY in October. Within this, overall total credit and debit card spend, which makes up over 20% of total payments, was up 8% YoY. Total card spending per household was up 3.1% YoY in October (4.4% in September) and remained lower than inflation.


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