Berkshire subsidiary CEOs: Here’s how the consumer is doing

Competition in the age of Amazon

The chief executives of Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries Benjamin Moore and Oriental Trading Company on Friday offered their assessments of consumer spending ahead of this weekend's Berkshire shareholder meeting.

Oriental Trading CEO Sam Taylor said it has been more difficult to create revenue growth in 2016, after the company had a record year for profitability.

The purveyor of toys, party items and arts and crafts supplies is seeing firm demand from businesses and organizations, but the average order among consumers has slipped, Taylor said. Oriental Trading's customers are primarily looking for deals and value, he added.

"It feels like the consumer is definitely, you know, she's watching her dollars a little more carefully, spending where she needs to, but being more careful on some of the things that are a little more discretionary," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

A customer, left, hands over U.S. twenty dollar bills as she pays for her purchases in Frankfurt, Kentucky.
Weak consumer spending, trade seen hurting US first-quarter growth

Benjamin Moore CEO Michael Searles said higher existing home sales have bolstered his paint company's business. He hypothesized that rising disposable income levels, higher savings and reduced consumer debt levels are translating into greater spending on home improvement.

"This is the best fourth quarter we've had in eight years," he told "Squawk Box." "We're seeing double-digit growth, so I think the housing market might be just a little bit more positive than the general consumer is."

— Programming note: Warren Buffett appears on CNBC's "Squawk Box" for three hours on Monday, starting at 6 a.m. ET. From 8 a.m. ET to 9 a.m. ET, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, a Berkshire Hathaway director, and Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire, join the conversation.