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Still Spending

Resilient Consumer Boosts 2020 Outlook

If 2019 was a year when the risk of recession dominated headlines, 2020 should be the year we can rest a bit easier.

Consumers are showing great resilience in spending, despite big changes to how they live, how they work and what they buy. Trade disputes remain in focus while the burden of economic stimulus has shifted from central banks to politicians.

To better understand where the global economy is going and how to respond, the new Mastercard Economics Institute brings together economists and data scientists to provide businesses and governments a view of what’s around the corner. Below you will find five trends we believe will shape the economy in the coming year.

-Bricklin Dwyer, Chief Economist

  1. Consumer Spending Stays Strong-Bucking Other Economic Indicators

Despite a significant slowdown in global trade and business investment, the consumer has remained resilient in 2019 with firm employment and disposable income gains…read more

US SpendingPulse™ year over year growth (total sales excluding auto) on a sound scale

  1. Consumers Stay Put

We have seen big changes in how people live, work and consume. Bumps in the population will likely be the marginal drivers of consumer spending in a global economy with slow growth…read more

  1. E-Commerce Continues to Outperform

We’re getting close to the point where every industry that can be online, is online. E-commerce continues to outperform in-store sales growth even as the number of industries moving online has slowed. In the U.S. and Canada faster shipping times are making online shopping more convenient. Deeper market penetration remains an opportunity for growth while omnichannel retailers who offer consumers the ability to buy online or in a store will dominate in the coming year as pressure to compete on delivery times weighs on margins…read more

year over year % chg in sales growth (e-commerce vs total retail)

source: Mastercard SpendingPulse

  1. Monetary Policy Reaches Its Limits

With three rate cuts since the middle of 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board was as busy as ever. That helped to stave off a near-term recession, but there’s not much room left for further cuts. Instead, if there is another slowdown, the government will have to focus on policy measures to turn things around. Globally the picture is more varied…read more

  1. Impact from Trade Disputes Spreads

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China appear to be easing but there is still much to be resolved. Global trade volume has been falling since June, but we have seen a pronounced slowing in many trade-related spending categories that suggests the fallout may be a bit broader, although it looks like the bottom is behind us…read more

Of course, there are always surprises that could significantly affect these five trends, including the impact from the coronavirus outbreak or geopolitical conflict, but by better understanding the big picture, we can make better decisions – big and small.

Notes & Disclaimer

About the Mastercard Economics Institute

Mastercard Economics Institute launched in 2020 to analyze macroeconomic trends through the lens of the consumer. A team of economists, analysts and data scientists draws on Mastercard insights - including Mastercard SpendingPulse - and third-party data to deliver regular reporting on economic issues for key customers, partners and policymakers.


© 2020 Mastercard International Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Mastercard reports and content, including estimated forecasts of spending trends, (i) do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual Mastercard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data; and (ii) are solely for informational purposes and shall not be relied upon by any person for the purpose of investment or other financial decisions.

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