So far, consumers have used most of the savings they’ve have seen at the pump to fatten their piggy banks or keep the debt collectors at bay.
But that might start to change if gas prices stay low. And retailers and fashion brands might start to get a little extra love as drivers save up to $200 billion.
“Low gas prices in an improving economy could lead to increased discretionary spending in 2015, but debt repayment and savings are likely to remain at the top of consumers’ lists,” said group of Jeffries stock analysts, which polled consumers on the topic.
Fifty-five percent of the 1,000 people surveyed said they expect to spend more on consumer discretionary categories over the next six months if gas prices stay low. The poll mirrored the U.S. population demographically and targeted individuals who drive more than 10,000 miles annually.
Jeffries said that gas prices were at five-year lows. The analysts set the savings for shoppers between $120 billion and $200 billion, or about $560 to $950 per driver.” AAA logged the price of a gallon of regular at $2.34 today, down from $3.33 a year ago.
“Economic improvement combined with pent up consumer demand and a potential shift in the fashion cycle could fuel consumer appetite for specialty retail in 2015,” the Jeffries analysts said. “Our survey results support this thesis given respondents increased likelihood of spending gas savings on apparel/accessories as the year progresses and savings from lower gas prices likely accumulate.”