A new normal for U.S. consumer confidence?

Consumer sentiment is almost unchanged from last week after falling to its lowest level in eight years

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Visit our interactive portal, Ipsos Consolidated Economic Indicators (IpsosGlobalIndicators.com) for graphic comparisons and trended data pertaining to the Ipsos Global Consumer Confidence Index and  sub-indices -- and all the questions on which they are based.


Washington, DC, April 2, 2020 — A new Ipsos survey conducted on March 31-April 1 finds that U.S. consumer sentiment fell by only one-sixth or one point since a week ago, following a drop of almost 15 points compared to three weeks ago. However, confidence in the jobs situation and outlook continued to decline over the past week.

Detailed Findings

  1. With an index score of 45.4 this week, overall consumer confidence has barely changed since last week (46.0).
    1. However, consumer confidence is almost 18 points lower than it was at the beginning of the year (63.4) and about 15 points lower than it was only three weeks ago (60.1).
    2. Americans’ consumer sentiment has not been this low since January 2012
    3. The current index is about seven points lower than the historical average of 52.6, but still more than 10 points higher than it was a few months after the 2008 financial crisis.

       

      Overall Confidence
  2. Confidence in the jobs situation and outlook continues to decline significantly as the Jobs sub-index fell by 2.5 points over the past week and is now 20 points lower than in early March

    1. Over the past week, the sub-indices indicative of sentiment about current conditions, the investment climate, and future expectations have shown some stability after significant drops earlier in March.

       Sub Indices
  3. Today, 69% say they are less comfortable making a major purchase, like a home or car, compared to six months ago.
    1. This is up 21 points from three weeks ago (48%), but only two points higher than last week (67%)

       

      Major Purchase
  4. Two thirds (67%) say they are less comfortable making another major purchase now, compared to six months ago.
    1. This is up 24 points from three weeks ago (43%), but only one point higher than last week (66%)

       

      HH Purchase

Questions

The data used for the Consumer Confidence index and sub-indices is based on the following questions:

 

  1. Now, thinking about our economic situation, how would you describe the current economic situation in US? Is it… very good, somewhat good, somewhat bad or very bad?
  2. Rate the current state of the economy in your local area using a scale from 1 to 7, where 7 means a very strong economy today and 1 means a very weak economy.
  3. Looking ahead six months from now, do you expect the economy in your local area to be much stronger, somewhat stronger, about the same, somewhat weaker, or much weaker than it is now?
  4. Rate your current financial situation, using a scale from 1 to 7, where 7 means your personal financial situation is very strong today and 1 means it is very weak
  5. Looking ahead six months from now, do you expect your personal financial situation to be much stronger, somewhat stronger, about the same, somewhat weaker, or much weaker than it is now?
  6. Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less comfortable making a major purchase, like a home or car?
  7. Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less comfortable making other household purchases?
  8. Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less confident about job security for yourself, your family and other people you know personally?
  9. Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less confident of your ability to invest in the future, including your ability to save money for your retirement or your children’s education?
  10. Thinking of the last 6 months, have you, someone in your family or someone else you know personally lost their job as a result of economic conditions?
  11. Now look ahead at the next six months. How likely is it that you, someone in your family or someone else you know personally will lose their job in the next six months as a result of economic conditions?

 


About the Study

These findings are based on data from an Ipsos survey conducted March 31- April 1, 2020 with a sample of 962 adults aged 18-74 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii who were interviewed online in English. The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=970, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points). Findings from previous time periods going back to March 2011 are based on data from Refinitiv /Ipsos’ Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI) collected in a monthly survey on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online survey platform with the same questions. For the PCSI survey, Ipsos interviews a total of 1,000+ U.S. adults aged 18-74. The Refinitiv/Ipsos Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI), ongoing since 2010, is a monthly survey of consumer attitudes on the current and future state of local economies, personal finance situations, savings and confidence to make large investments. The PCSI metrics reported each month consist of a “Primary Index” based on 10 questions available upon request and of several “sub-indices” each based on a subset of these 10 questions. Those sub-indices include a Current Index, an Expectations Index, an Investment Index and a Jobs Index. Findings for January 2002- February 2011 are based on data from the RBC CASH Index, a monthly telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older conducted by Ipsos with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

 

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 202 420 2025
chris.jackson@ipsos.com

 

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 718 755-8829
kate.silverstein@ipsos.com

 

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The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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