U.S. consumer confidence weakening

Six in ten believe that businesses should be allowed to reopen even if the pandemic is still not fully contained

The author(s)

  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist
  • Neil Lloyd Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, October 1, 2021 — Consumer sentiment shows signs of weakening as it shed 2.1 points to read at 55.5 in this week’s Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Confidence Tracker. This week’s reading is at the lower end of a 55-58 range where the index has been stuck since early August. The lukewarm sentiment comes in the face of a looming government shutdown, rising consumer prices, and the continued concerns around COVID-19.

All sub-indices also moved in a negative direction this week, especially the Current and Investment sub-indices. Meanwhile, Americans tend to be less comfortable making major purchasing decisions and are split on whether a quick economic recovery is likely.

No demographic groups show any significant increase in sentiment vs. last week, and many show a decline. Groups expressing the steepest drops in optimism include Americans living in the West (-7.2) and in rural areas (-5.5), Independents (-4.2), and those earning between $50k-$100k (-3.9).


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 55.5, the latest Overall Consumer Confidence loses 2.1 points from last week.

  • The Overall Confidence Index is currently 1.9 points above the pandemic average, and 4.6 points below where it stood in early March 2020, prior to the first lockdowns (60.1).

Consumer Confidence

2. The Current, Investment, and Expectations sub-indices all dropped by about 2 to 3 points since last week.

Sub-indices

3. The Jobs sub-index experiences a slight decline, decreasing by 0.9 points from last week.

  • The proportion of Americans who say they are more confident in their job security now compared to 6 months ago is at 56%, down 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 33%, up 2 points from last week.
  • In addition, 36% 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, down 2 points from last week.

4. Just over half agree that the economy will recover quickly once coronavirus-control restrictions are relaxed (51%, a 3-point drop reversing the increase seen the previous week).

Recover quickly

5. Support for allowing businesses to reopen before the virus is fully contained still sits at roughly six in ten – now 58%, down 2 points from the week prior.

Restart

6. Comfort with making major and other purchases falls slightly.

  • 44% say they are more comfortable making major household purchases compared to six months ago, down 4 points from last week.

Major Purchase

  • 51% say they are more comfortable making other household purchases compared to six months ago, down 1 point from last week.

Other 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 the U.S.? 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

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 September 28-29, 2021 with a sample of 932 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 3.7 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=932, DEFF=1.5 and adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.2 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, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 202 420 2025
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

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About Ipsos

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The author(s)

  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist
  • Neil Lloyd Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs

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