Insight Deep Dive: CE data looks at Supreme Court changed spending patterns for key segment paying off loans.

How much is student debt impacting consumer spending? Supporters of debit forgiveness, including President Biden, argue that it hinders prosperity for Americans struggling with high monthly payments.  Many debtholders may had been counting on relief before the Supreme Court struck down the President’s original student loan forgiveness plan on June 30. To assess the overall impact of loan forgiveness, today’s Insight Deep Dive looks at how spending patterns changed after the ruling for 25-34 year olds making $60,000-$80,000 per year, a key segment paying off loans.

While Fourth of July week accelerated spend growth for most 25-34 year olds enjoying the holiday, there seemed to be a sour note for those making $60,000-80,000 per year. For the week ending 6/25/23, all income groups except for those making under $40,000 had spend growth of ~3-3.5%. Growth for all groups (including those making under $40,000) had accelerated by the week ending 7/9/23, with the exception of those making $60,000-$80,000 who saw spend growth of less than 1% in the week following the Supreme Court reversal of debt forgiveness.

Changes in Spend by Income

Given that the June 30th decision came right before the Fourth of July holiday, its unsurprising that the subindustries seeing the biggest immediate share of wallet decline from 25-34 year olds making $60,000-$80,000 (“Student Debtholder Demographic”) were in the travel sector. Debtholders who thought loans were behind them may have cancelled trips as payments began to loom again – the biggest y/y declines in wallet share for this group were in Gas that could have been for road trips, Lodging, and Online Travel Agencies. Other top categories that saw a lower share of spend in those first two weeks alone as debtholders cut back include Telecom, Party/Novelty/Gifts, and Electronics Retail.

Changes in Share of Wallet

Note:  Share of wallet for subindustry in two weeks ending 7/9/23 minus share of wallet for subindustry in two weeks ending 7/10/22

Which other areas might see a sales pinch if student loan payments don’t ease?  25-34 year olds making $60,000-$80,000 per year are most likely relative to the overall population to spend money on Telehealth, Education, and Video Games.

Relative Wallet Share

Note:  365 days ending 7/9/23

As new student debt forgiveness plans take shape (and possibly unravel again), CE data can help understand how consumer spending is shifting based on repayment expectations. Tracking purchasing for the key groups affected by these policies can reveal the extent of the impact and which businesses are most likely to feel the brunt.

Consumer Edge is the leading provider of alternative data for consumer spending behavior, and the only provider of global revenue signals. If you’d like to benefit from using Transact US or other products using industry data year-round to track trends and dynamics like these, reach out to insights@consumeredge.com.

Stacie Rabinowitz is the VP of Product Research at Consumer Edge. Explore more of her insights here and follow her on LinkedIn.