Lifestyle changes are the catalyst for shifts in category-level spending momentum
CHICAGO, May 16, 2023 – In April 2023, discretionary U.S. general merchandise retail sales revenue fell 7%, compared to April 2022, and unit sales fell 8%. April declines are consistent with declines in March, but stories of growth resulting from consumer lifestyle changes does exist in certain categories. Prestige beauty and apparel represent more than half of the top 20 performing categories in the first quarter, led by products like face makeup, fragrance juices, woven shirts, and sportscoats, according to Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group.
“Whether it’s the growing influence of social media, returning to the office, or just getting out to more activities and socializing, the social side of life is back,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for Circana. “However, the enduring high prices of grocery items are forcing consumers to prioritize their spending decisions and make trade-offs.”
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) trends are also maintaining their trajectory from recent months, exhibiting diminished demand alongside elevated prices. Food-and-beverage sales revenue increased by 6% through April, but unit sales fell 2%. Non-edible CPG sales revenue was up 3%, and unit sales were down 5%. A deeper dive across CPG and foodservice performance reveals a search for convenience resonating with consumers, as sales of breakfast foods and other items are softening at grocery stores, while the morning meal is adding traffic momentum at restaurants.
“While consumers are still feeling financially crunched, they are also resuming their busy social schedules, and it is being reflected in the details of how they are spending,” said Cohen, “Manufacturers and retailers need to understand what is taking priority for the consumer, think about how that may evolve, and be prepared to respond to the opportunities that will come with the next phase of changes.”
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