U.S. consumer confidence on standstill after month of volatility
Washington, DC, August 26, 2021 — After a period of instability, consumer sentiment holds steady at 56.2 in this week’s Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Confidence Tracker.
Optimism about a swift post-COVID economic rebound returns after last week’s sudden drop. Six in ten believe that the economy will recover quickly and that businesses should be allowed to reopen even before the virus is fully contained.
However, comfort with making household purchases remains relatively low, with less than half expressing more comfort with making major household purchases now compared to six months ago.
While consumer confidence in aggregate appears to have reached equilibrium this week, sentiment direction varies across demographic groups. Groups expressing the greatest increase in optimism include non-whites (+5 points) and those aged 18-34 (+3.4 points).
Those age 35-54 experience the greatest decline in outlook (-2.8 points).
Read the full story from Forbes Advisor here.
Learn more about the Ipsos Global Consumer Confidence Index and sub-indices via the interactive portal, Ipsos Consolidated Economic Indicators (IpsosGlobalIndicators.com) including graphic comparisons, trended data and all the questions on which they are based.
1. Scoring at 56.2, the latest Overall Consumer Confidence gains 0.3 point from last week.
- The Overall Confidence Index is currently 2.9 points above the pandemic average, and 3.9 points below where it stood in early March 2020, prior to the first lockdowns (60.1).
2. The Investment sub-index experiences the only meaningful increase (+1 point from last week), while the Current and Expectation sub-indices remain virtually unchanged.
3. The Jobs sub-index remains relatively unchanged from last week, dropping by another 0.4 points.
- The proportion of Americans who say they are now more confident in their job security compared to 6 months ago is at 55%, up 1 percentage point from last week.
- The proportion of Americans reporting they, a family member, or a personal acquaintance lost their job in the past six months due to economic conditions is at 32%, down 1 point from last week.
- In addition, 41% say it’s likely they, a family member, or a personal acquaintance will lose their job in the next six months due to economic conditions, up 4 points from last week.
4. Optimism around a prompt economic recovery rebounds, gaining 7 points (58% agree, up from 51% last week).
5. Views on allowing businesses to reopen before the virus is fully contained also make a slight recovery of 3 points, at 57%.
6. Comfort with making major and other household purchases remains relatively weak.
- 45% say they are more comfortable making major household purchases compared to six months ago, unchanged from last week.
50% say they are more comfortable making other household purchases compared to six months ago, down 3 points from last week.
The data used for the Consumer Confidence index and sub-indices is based on the following questions:
- Now, thinking about our economic situation, how would you describe the current economic situation in the U.S.? Is it… very good, somewhat good, somewhat bad or very bad?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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
- 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?
- Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less comfortable making a major purchase, like a home or car?
- Compared to 6 months ago, are you NOW more or less comfortable making other household purchases?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
Q. To what extent do you agree with the each of the following?
- The economy will recover quickly once the lockdown is over.
- We should restart the economy and allow businesses to open even if the virus is still not fully contained.
About the Study
These findings are based on data from an Ipsos survey conducted August 24-25, 2021 with a sample of 941 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 3.6 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. For n=941, DEFF=1.5 and adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.1 percentage points.
Findings from March 2010 to early March 2020 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.
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