BOSTON (TheStreet) — Americans have been buying houses and cars, thanks to government support.
But they've needed no aid when spending money on clothes, vacations, home improvements, computers and on dates. Consumer confidence is the highest it's been since September 2008, and BIGresearch found that many Americans plan to spend more this year following a devastating recession.
"Consumers are slowly returning to discretionary purchases," says Scott Krugman, spokesman for the National Retail Federation. "They're by no means 'back' and are only dipping a toe in the water right now."
There are a few areas, though, where consumers are full-on wading. Here are the five biggest areas where consumers are upgrading without any kind of aid:
Apparently, coming out of a recession means no longer wearing an outfit purchased around the same time Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" first charted. According to BIGresearch, 13% of those polled thought it was time to spend more on apparel for themselves.
While that's great news for Urban Outfitters (URBN) , which saw revenue increase 11% last month, and other retailers like The Limited (LTD) , Neiman Marcus and TJX (TJX) that had gains in April, it isn't exactly setting the clothing retail world ablaze.
(URBN) (LTD) (TJX) Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) , Aeropostale (ARO) , American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) , Hot Topic (HOTT) , Wet Seal (WTSLA) and even Target (TGT) (Stock Quote: TGT) were among the clothiers continuing to stitch together an existence through revenue downturns. It also doesn't mean that consumers are sharing the wardrobe wealth, as only 5.6% said new clothing for their children is a post-recession priority.
(URBN) (LTD) (TJX) (ANF) (ARO) (AEO) (HOTT) (WTSLA) (TGT) This may be the year someone gets bludgeoned with a blunt object for using the term "staycation." In the most indiscrete return to discretionary spending of the post-recession era, 13% of survey respondents told BIGresearch they need a vacation and are willing to shell out more to take one.