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Consumers Will Splurge on Experiences

A new report highlights consumer spending trends for 2024.

Customer Paying with Credit Card

Numerator released its 2024 Vision Report, which provides forward-looking insight into U.S. consumer trends for the year to come. The market research company noted four main trends for the upcoming year: Challenges for retailers across income divides, a greater focus on physical well-being, a shift to private label, and further technological innovation in stores.

Mind the Income Divide

According to Numerator, 2023 defied expectations with consumer spending—households splurged on experiences, such as movies and concerts.

The company also noted that 38% of all consumers said their biggest worry was personal finances, a concern that was even greater for low-income households (50%). Low-income households have already pulled back volume purchasing as legislative impacts on SNAP and student loans have hit, driving financial concerns up by six percentage points year over year.

Health and Wellness

This year, over 1 in 3 consumers are prioritizing their physical well-being, a statistic that has increased 13 percentage points compared to last year. Numerator noted that this consumer trend is universal across all incomes, generations, and ethnicities.

Consumers are almost twice as likely to prefer getting nutrients from food over supplements, and more consumers are also using weight loss innovations such as GLP-1 to curb food consumption.

Rise of Private Label

Over 79% of brands that grew sales in 2023 also increased prices, and consumers are looking to pay less. Private label is emerging as a winning solution, Numerator said, with over $1 billion worth of unit share moving to brands such as Great Value, Aldi, and Kirkland Signature.

The research company also noted other challenges in specific industries that may require retailers to be flexible in the coming year. For gas and convenience, the company noted that while traffic to c-stores is normalizing, long-term trends of car ownership could shift that. Multiple car ownership has dropped, and 3 in 10 households own only one car (an increase of three percentage points). Consumers with fewer vehicles may shift c-store spending habits, the company said.

Retail Tech Innovation

From promotions to consumers, 2024 is continuing to be a year for further technological innovation:

  • Over half of the US population uses mobile payments (e.g., Apple Pay or Samsung Pay).

  • Buy Now, Pay Later adoption grew by four percentage points in the past year as credit utilization is at a two-year high.

Additionally, in just one year, generative AI has outpaced adoption rates of both virtual reality and cryptocurrency, with over 1 in 10 consumers experimenting with the technology in 2023.


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