Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Tchotchke Index: 2013 Update

It has been a while since we updated the Tchotchke Index—a measure of our economic wellbeing. The more Americans are willing to spend on tchotchkes—gift shop items, home decor trinkets, yard sale finds—the greater the economic confidence. Five years ago Demo Memo Blog created the Tchotchke Index to track excess consumer spending (here is the original post). The Tchotchke Index is the amount of money spent by the average household on "decorative items for the home," a detailed category in the Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Sadly, the Tchotchke Index has plummeted to the lowest level on record. In 2013, the average household spent just $103 on decorative items for the home—less than half of the $240 it spent on this category in 2000, after adjusting for inflation. The 2013 Index is even lower than the $108 spent in 2010, in the aftermath of the Great Recession. An ominous sign, for sure.

1 comment:

Taylor Wray said...

Nice job zeroing in on a logical signal amid the noise of consumer spending data.

I'd be interested to see the Tchotchke Index plotted over time.