U.S. consumer confidence subsides

With conflict in Ukraine in the background, Americans show greater unease about their economic prospects

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Hailey Foster Research Analyst, Public Affairs
  • Rhett Laffoon Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs
  • James Diamond Senior Research Manager, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, February 25, 2022 – Consumer confidence continues showing a great deal of volatility as it declined 3.1 points from two weeks ago to read at 53.0 in this week’s Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Confidence Tracker. This puts overall sentiment almost one point below its pandemic average.

All sub-indices show a measurable decline, including a 3-point reversal in the Jobs sub-index as fewer Americans express confidence in their job security. Comfort with household spending also falls back, with just over two in five expressing more comfort with major and other household purchases as compared to six months ago.

This week’s tracker investigates Americans’ spending and saving habits. With inflation at a 40-year high, a majority of Americans say that their spending and saving levels have not changed over the past few months. However, one in five say they are spending and drawing from savings more than usual.


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.


Detailed Findings 

1. Scoring at 53, the latest Overall Consumer Confidence falls 3.1 points from two weeks ago.

  • The Overall Confidence Index is currently 0.8 points below the pandemic average, and 7.1 points below where it stood in early March 2020, prior to the first lockdowns (60.1).Overall Consumer Confidence Index graph sitting at 53.

2. The Current, Expectations and Investment sub-indices all experience meaningful decline (falling 3.3, 3.6 and 2.8 points respectively).

Table of National, Current, Expectations, Investment, and Jobs indices.

 

3. Jobs sentiment falls 3 points from two weeks ago.

  • The proportion of Americans who say they are more confident in their job security now compared to 6 months ago is at 51%, down 5 points from two weeks ago.
  • 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 28%, up 1 point from two weeks ago.
  • In addition, 42% 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 6 points from two weeks ago.

4. With inflation on the rise over the last few months, one fifth (20%) of Americans surveyed report drawing from their savings and spending money more than usual. However, more Americans report doing each of these less than usual (26% and 27%, respectively). And just over half say they do each of them as much as usual (54%, and 53%, respectively).

Chart of consumer financial habits relative to the past few months.

5. There is little change in people’s spending and saving habits from one month ago, although slightly more (+5) report spending more money than in late January.

Charts of consumer financial habits relative to the past few months. Chart on the left compares "more than usual" to January. Chart on the right compares "less than usual" to January.

6. Comfort with making major and other household purchases relative to six months ago is slightly diminished, with just over two in five saying they are comfortable making major purchases.

  • 42% say they are more comfortable making major household purchases compared to six months ago, down 3 points from two weeks ago.
Graph showing consumers comfortability making major household purchases over time.
  • 45% say they are more comfortable making other household purchases compared to six months ago, down 3 points from two weeks ago.
Graph showing consumers comfortability making other household purchases over time.

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?

Additional questions:

1. In the past few months, have you done each of the following more than, less than, or as much as you usually do? 

  • Draw from your savings
  • Pay off your loans/credit
  • Borrow money or use credit
  • Invest or save money
  • Spend money

About the Study           

These findings are based on data from an Ipsos survey conducted February 22-23, 2022 with a sample of 931 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 3.9 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=931, DEFF=1.5 and adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.4 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.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson

Senior Vice President, US

Public Affairs

+1 202 420 2025

[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

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The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
  • Hailey Foster Research Analyst, Public Affairs
  • Rhett Laffoon Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs
  • James Diamond Senior Research Manager, Public Affairs

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