Strong consumer spending start to 2022 continued in Feb

Strong consumer spending start to 2022 continued in Feb

Strong U.S. consumer spending start to 2022 continued in Feb and suggests more normalized spending heading into spring

Bank of America’s approximately 67 million clients made $294 billion in total payments during February, a 16% increase over February 2021.

This follows a 5% increase in total payments in February 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. This marks a continuation of the strong consumer payments and spending observed in January, as well as a record $3.8 trillion in total payments in 2021.

“We saw a strong continuation of payment and spending trends in February, another positive sign of the strength of U.S. consumers,” says Mary Hines Droesch, Head of Consumer and Small Business Products at Bank of America.

“Strong spending trends across a variety of sectors such as travel, restaurants, public transportation and gym memberships suggest more consumers are returning to the office and resuming more in-person activities.”

  • Bank of America clients’ combined credit and debit card spending reached $63 billion in February, up 21% compared to February 2021.
  • Total credit and debit transactions were up 15% year-over-year, indicating continued strong demand for goods and services.
  • Travel spending on credit and debit cards was up 95% year-over-year, with airline spend up 153% year-over-year; and spending at travel agencies up 147%, led by Boomers and Seniors.
  • Increased spending at coffee shops, dry cleaners and public transportation indicated a greater return to the office in February after a seasonal winter slowdown exacerbated by Omicron. Combined, these categories saw 30% growth year-over-year in February, compared to 21% growth year-over-year in January.

Gen Z/Millennials consumer spending

  • Spending at restaurants and gyms was up 38% and 43% respectively in February 2022 vs. February 2021, as clients resumed more in-person activities, with Gen Z/Millennials driving growth.
  • Gen Z/Millennials spending on additional in-person activities, such as movie theaters, ticket agencies and amusement parks, strongly outpaced other generations – with spending on these activities up 162% year-over-year in February 2022, compared to an increase of 94% among Boomers and Seniors.
  • Clients continued to gravitate toward convenience when shopping – digital spending on credit and debit was up 22% year-over-year, and adoption of tap-to-pay grew, representing 19% of in-person transactions.
  • Even with the strong growth in spending, Bank of America clients’ deposit balances totaled over $1.4 trillion at the end of February, up 15% from February 2021.
  • We continued to see growth in deposit balances across all stratifications of deposit customers. Among consumers with an average deposit balance of less than $2,000 before the pandemic, balances were up five times their pre-pandemic levels on average, including an additional 2% growth in February 2022 compared to January 2022.
  • Deposit balance growth remained strong across all age demographics as well – Millennials were up 61% on average in February compared to pre-pandemic levels in February 2020; deposit balances among Boomers and Seniors were up 38% on average compared to the same period.

Bank of America is a provider of choice for individuals and businesses when paying for goods and services. The company’s award-winning and easy-to-use capabilities help clients budget, save, spend and borrow carefully and confidently.

Bank of America reviews aggregate activity across its vast client base to discern important payments trends, including debit and credit spending.