Skip to main content

Consumers Spending Less on Discretionary and Essential Purchases Alike

Retail sales have been declining since 2019, and retailers must innovate to create "spending elevation" to keep up with consumer spending.
Wednesday, Apr 26, 2023

Retail sales have been trending downward since 2019 and fell again in March 2023, down 7% compared to March 2022, according to an article published in Experience Retail Today, citing research by software company Circana.

Circana’s research shows that consumers are spending less. With each dollar being stretched further, retailers will have to innovate, providing new products, new services, new experiences, and new ways of thinking, in order to create “spending elevation,” according to Marshal Cohen, Circana’s chief retail industry advisor.

But the pandemic, supply chain issues, and inflation has made investment in product development and customer experience more difficult. Circana reports that new products accounted for more than 5% before the pandemic and accounted for less than 2% by the end of 2022. Strained consumer finances lead to lower sales, which leads to less investment, creating a dangerous feedback loop for retailers.

The full article includes more quotes from Cohen and more details from the Circana study.