Ipsos-Reid CASH Index: Remains Low, At 74.9, But Change Since QII Suggests Poor Consumer Attitudes May Not Translate Directly Into A Poor Holiday Shopping Season

But In The Longer-Range, Continued Low Scores On Job Prospects May Indicate Consumers Assume A Continued Slow Economy In Early 2003

Washington, D.C. - How will negative consumer attitudes affect the holiday shopping season? The Ipsos-Reid US National CASH Index (measuring Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) stands at 74.9, down 25.1 since the Index was inaugurated in January, 2002. The CASH Index fell into negative territory at the beginning of the summer, and has never recovered. For retailers, however, the news is probably not as negative as the overall index level might lead them to fear at first. The CASH Index has fallen from a QII CASH Index of 96.8 (down only slightly from the baseline of a QI Index = 100), to 74.9 in the most recent Monthly CASH Index (down significantly from the baseline of January = 100). These surveys were conducted by Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs, the Washington, D.C.-based division of Ipsos, which is the world's third largest polling and market research organization, based in Paris. Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective public affairs research company. The Ipsos-Reid Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household (CASH) Index polls are conducted the first and third week of every month, as part of Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs weekly omnibus polling service. Interviews for the latest polling were conducted between October 15 to 17 and November 1 to 3, 2002. The margin of error for the questions on each rolling average of two consecutive surveys totaling 2000 adults is +/-2.2%, nineteen times out of twenty. Concerns about the expectations of the local economy (-11.7), and the environment for investments (-3.1) explain most of the decline from the healthy CASH Index level of QII to the sour CASH Index scores of early November. Attitudes about personal finances (current and expectations), now and in the next six months, however, are slightly more positive today than they were in QII, indicating that consumers' economic concerns may not affect their performance as shoppers. The change is not statistically significant, but is better than the declines seen across all other Index components. Comfort levels with major household purchases (-0.8 from .4 in QII), and other household purchases (-1.2 from .5 in QII) are down slightly from levels in QII, suggesting some degree of caution for shoppers, but consumers do not seem ready to act the Grinch this holiday season. Click to view larger image Looking further ahead into 2003, there are not yet any signs of a significant positive bounce in consumer attitudes. Traditionally, attitudes about job prospects have been the most effective predictive element for the direction of the economy in surveys of consumer attitudes. The Ipsos-Reid CASH Index measures attitudes about the job market three ways-how many have seen or experienced job loss recently, how many expect to see or experience job loss in the next six months, and how confident are consumers in their job security. All three job-related measures in the CASH Index are down from their levels in Q II, suggesting continued poor economic performance for the mid-term future. How Ipsos-Reid CASH Index Scores Changed since January 2002 The following chart depicts the net change in the most recent monthly CASH Index rating since January 2002 based on each of the economic factors used to generate the Index. Click to view larger image

    For more information on this release, please contact: Thomas Riehle President Ipsos-Reid US Public Affairs 202.463.7300

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