The Associated Press/Ipsos CASH Index: Back to 100

Back to 100 "On the Nose" -- A Huge Uptick in Consumer Attitudes CASH Index (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Up Again Five Consecutive Improvements in Twice-Monthly Measure Means "Big Mo"

Washington, DC - U.S. consumers are riding a strong wave of increasingly positive feelings about the direction of their local economy, their ability to buy, and their job security heading into the New Year. As a result, the AP/Ipsos CASH Index of Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household has hit 100 in December, up from a low of 61.5 in February 2003.

View Larger Version The CASH Index was set at 100 as a starting point in January 2002. The index number itself, therefore, measures movement up or down from the baseline of January 2002. Today, the December 2003 CASH Index stands at 100 on the nose. The fact that it has improved in five consecutive twice-monthly measures suggests an historic, persistent positive movement in the attitudes of consumers in the U.S. The index is based on an addition/subtraction calculation involving results on 10 questions now, compared to January 2002, when the CASH Index was established and the overall index number set at 100. While it is back at 100 today, consumer attitudes are not at the exact same place today on each of the 10 measures. Generally speaking, people have a more pessimistic impression of their own current personal financial situation, but feel better than they did in January 2002 about expectations about trends in the economy in their area in the next six months, their job security, and their ability to handle their household budget for major purchases and other purchases.

View Larger Version The AP/Ipsos CASH Index is designed to provide a single, handy number that summarizes movement across an array of consumer attitudes, including current assessments and near-term expectations about the economy and personal finances, job security, confidence in the ability to save and invest for the future, and comfort level with making major purchases and other household purchases. But does it measure something real? Two years is a short track record for a complex index, but to date, the AP/Ipsos CASH Index has tracked very well against the two standard measures of consumer attitudes, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, each of which has been effectively measuring consumer attitudes for decades.

View Larger Version Ipsos CASH Index Surveys of consumers are conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the Washington, D.C.-based division of Ipsos, a leading global survey-based market research group. The Ipsos Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household (CASH) Index polls are conducted the first and third week of every month, as part of Ipsos-Public Affairs weekly omnibus polling service. The Ipsos CASH Index, started in January 2002, is a bimonthly national survey of consumer attitudes on the current and future state of the local economy, personal financial situation and spending, saving and confidence to invest.

For more information about the Ipsos CASH Index or to receive this report on the first and third week of every month, please e-mail [email protected], or contact Brian Scanlon at 202.463.2146. For more information on this press release, please contact: Thomas Riehle President, Ipsos Public Affairs Washington, D.C. 202.463.7300 About Ipsos Public Affairs Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, public affairs company made up of veteran campaign and political polling veterans as well as seasoned research professionals. The company conducts strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of Canadian, American, and international organizations based not only on public opinion research, but often elite stakeholder, corporate and media opinion research. Ipsos Public Affairs also conducts national and international public opinion polling on behalf of the The Associated Press, the world's oldest and largest news organization. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based research firm. About Ipsos Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research group, with revenues of 538.5 million euros in 2002. It offers a full suite of research services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies in advertising, marketing, public opinion and customer loyalty research, as well as forecasting and modeling. Member companies also offer a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services. To learn more, visit: Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris Premier Marchй, and is part of the SBF 120 and Next Prime Indices as well as eligible to the Deferred Settlement System (SRD). Euroclear code 7329, Reuters ISOS.LN, Bloomberg IPS FP

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