Inflation is Marginalizing Purchasing Power from the Lower-Income Demo

Mar 7, 2023 | Macro Insights, No Bull Economics

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As households with annual incomes >$70k drive 62% of total food-away-from-home sales, it is more important than ever to focus on this demo especially as spending from the lower-income demo slows.


We have recently heard from Wendy’s and Walmart about a 4Q22 spending slow-up from the <$75k income demo which has been offset by a pick-up in higher-income demo spending (likely driven by trade-down as wealthier consumers look for more cost-effective options provided by companies like Wendy’s & Walmart).

Notably, data from 2021 (pre-inflationary spike) presented in the chart below reveals the importance of higher income demos in driving food sales – particularly as it relates to food-away-from-home (eating out).

Food Purches by Income Demographic
Food Purches by Income Demographic

Source: Table 1110. Deciles of income before taxes: Shares of annual aggregate expenditures and sources of income, Consumer Expenditure Surveys, 2021 PDF (

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