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U.S. Consumer Spending Increases in April, to $95

U.S. Consumer Spending Increases in April, to $95

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • Previous high for April was $91, in 2015
  • Spending average up $6 from March

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' daily self-reports of spending averaged $95 for the month of April, up from $89 in March. The latest spending figure represents the highest average for the month of April in Gallup's nine-year trend, exceeding the $91 average from April 2015.


The $6 increase in daily spending in April is on the high side for changes in April over March. Since the recession, April spending has increased by nearly this much -- $5 -- only once, in 2015, whereas in all other years since 2010, April spending was roughly the same as in March.

The April 2016 average is based on interviews with more than 15,000 U.S. adults. Each day, Gallup asks Americans how much they spent "yesterday" in restaurants, gas stations, stores or online -- not counting home, vehicle or other major purchases, or normal monthly bills -- to provide an indication of Americans' discretionary spending.

More broadly, spending averages have increased quite a bit since the recession and immediate post-recession years of 2009 to 2011, when monthly figures dipped as low as $58. They began to climb over the course of 2012 and 2013, and have since held at those higher levels.

In most years since tracking began in 2008, spending has increased at least slightly in May. But sometimes it has increased significantly, such as in 2014 when it increased by $10 and in 2008 when it increased by $28. Not all years have yielded such change, however. In 2012 and 2015, there was no difference between April and May spending.

Comparison of Average Daily Self-Reports of Spending, April to May
Monthly averages
April May Difference
2016 $95 -- --
2015 $91 $91 $0
2014 $88 $98 $10
2013 $86 $90 $4
2012 $73 $73 $0
2011 $65 $69 $4
2010 $66 $72 $6
2009 $60 $63 $3
2008 $86 $114 $28
Gallup Daily tracking

Bottom Line

Federal statistics reveal a sluggish start for consumer spending in the year's first quarter. But April could be the turning of a corner for spending, with a relatively strong pickup from March's average. April's spending average is one of the strongest monthly figures in nearly a decade, and could bode well for Americans' spending in the second quarter.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 1-30, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 15,241 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of error for the spending mean is ±$5 at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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