Bless the Web team over at Mint.com for this new infographic, detailing their shopping indices in the run-up to the coming Black Friday. Mint's users input their spending habits on the site, and the anonymized data has yielded lots of interesting results. The latest is about Black Friday sales, they're predicting that this year should be pretty strong.
The bottom two graphs show sales figures among mass-market and luxury retailers, gathered from Mint's own records of consumer spending. Both are well over the moribund stats they posted in 2008.
But maybe the most helpful of the three graphs is the first one. Mint looked at their users' spending at several major retailers, and used that to calculate an average spend per user. The dotted lines show the trend in 2008; the solid line shows the trend in 2009. In 2008, the average spend was flat or declining. In 2009, things are trending back up.
Now, economists have reached a broad consensus that consumer-spending is a pretty dicey way to rescue us from a recession—it's better to invest, and let innovation create more jobs. Nonetheless: American Consumer, to the rescue!