One in four American adults expect someone in their household to have less money coming in over the next month.
One in three are having a tough time paying their basic living expenses. And almost 10 million are behind or risk falling behind on their monthly mortgage or rent payments, according to the Census Bureau’s weekly Household Pulse Survey.
These are some of the American consumers who together drive about 70% of the U.S. economy. These households have been mostly left out of the economic rebound.
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty. There’s still a lot of precariousness,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic told me last week.
This week investors will get a peek at consumer uncertainty. It won’t be in government data or corporate quarterly financial results, though both are on the calendar this week. Big banks like JP Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo release third quarter numbers mid-week and September retail sales will be released Friday.
Instead, Amazon Prime Days will be an early and real-time test of consumer spending appetites heading into the holidays.
The online giant delayed its annual e-commerce buying binge invention — Prime Day — from July to this week because of the pandemic.
The promotion was pushed back twice as Amazon navigated around infection spikes and strains on its warehouses from the pandemic shift to online shopping.
Amazon invented Prime Day to lift its sales during summer doldrums. Moving it back to October has pushed competitors to pull up their holiday shopping strategies. Walmart, Target and Best Buy will hold their own deal days this week. Best Buy isn’t trying to hide its holiday hopes — “not-yet-released Black Friday” is how it describes its efforts on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Investors will look to these sales for early signs of a rejuvenated retail shopper amid the ongoing pandemic-induced uncertainty and precariousness.
Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts “The Sunshine Economy” on WLRN-FM in Miami, where he is the vice president of news. He is the former co-anchor and managing editor of “Nightly Business Report” on public television. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.