No doubt helping matters is the stock market, which has taken to the prospect of lower taxes and infrastructure spending under Trump and rallied to new highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 88.76 points to 18,956.69, having set a new all-time high. The S&P 500 also broke through and closed at a new peak, rising 0.8 percent to 2,198.18.
The November reading of the Spending Confidence Index, by MacroSavvy and Prosper Insight, showed a 0.3 percent increase versus October and a 1.1 percent gain against a year earlier.
While apparel and home goods were the main beneficiaries of the pickup in consumer sentiment this month, the trend was driven by older shoppers. Boomers were feeling most bullish, with a 0.5 percent rise in sentiment over a month earlier, while Gen Xers were buoyed as well, with a 0.4 percent increase.
Millennial shoppers, however, registered a 0.1 percent month-over-month decline in their confidence.
“The November results suggest that spending confidence and retail sales will continue to be held back to some extent by the number of consumers — especially Millennials — who say that they ‘worry more about political and national security issues,’” according to the survey results.
The portion of consumers concerned about political and national issues moved back up near its recent peak of 24.1 percent, which was set during the August political conventions. And Millennials are now almost as worried about these issues as they were during the 2008 financial crisis.
“We’re going to see a very mixed, a very divided outlook in terms of retail spending, let alone the political environment,” said economist Frank Badillo, MacroSavvy’s director of research, noting it was going to be hard for retailers to capture the Millennial dollar.
“The Boomers, even though they may be a bit more confident coming out of the election, they’re spending power isn’t what it used to be, they’re still catching up on their retirement spending plans,” said Badillo.
If the Millennials are too worried to spend and the Boomers are easing into retirement, that leaves markets with the smaller cohort of middle-aged shoppers, born from about 1965 through the mid-Eighties.
“It’s going to be the Gen X population that is more of an opportunity for retailers going forward,” Badillo said. “It is the Gen X population that has recovered best since the recession and are outperforming both Millennials and Boomers in terms of their spending confidence.”
While retailers question whether they should revisit grunge or re-watch “The Breakfast Club” to reconnect with Gen Xers, the online crowd could suffer some since the now-nervous Millennals skew digital in their shopping habits.