In Times of Crisis, Home Is Where the Heart Is

Americans Seek Stability Over Excitement; Spending Slowdown Reflects Bad Economy, Not War or Fears of Unemployment; No Big Changes in Spending or Savings Plans, But a Good Time to Make Big Decisions

In Times of Crisis, Home Is Where the Heart Is

Between October 19-21, 2001, Ipsos-Reid Express interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 US adults nationwide by telephone. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%. On questions that were asked of half the sample, the margin of error is +/- 4.5%. Consumers Trying to Remain Steady in Their Spending Overall, 70% of Americans plan to keep their spending constant over the next 6 months; greatly dwarfing the 11% of them who plan to spend less. Among those with changes in mind, Americans prove almost twice as likely to plan spending increases (19%) rather than cutbacks (11%) in the next 6 months. Of those Americans who are planning to spend less, more than three-quarters (78%) agreed that the general state of the economy has had at least some impact on their spending intentions. Meanwhile, 56% said it was the stock market's performance and 54% said that it was the prospect of unemployment. Americans Seek Stability, Had Enough Excitement for Right Now Financially, Americans say it is not a good time to change tactics or throw caution to the wind, but it is a good time to make major decisions and set broad strategic directions. Just 1 in 3 agree that, in light of the events of September 11, long-term investments are less of a priority than they usually are; almost no one (only 8%) says they are spending money like there is no tomorrow. A strong majority of 6 in 10 agree that [they are] making more important decisions about life than they usually do. Asked about the extent of their agreement with a series of attitudinal statements relating to the impact of September 11 on the way they live, nearly three-quarters agree that they are looking for stability more than excitement right now, and that staying home and being close to family appeals to them more than usual.

Americans' Attitudes in the Aftermath of September 11, 2001

"In light of the September 11 attacks and the subsequent war on terrorism, I'm going to read you a series of statements. Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each one." (Each item asked of half the sample)

160

Agree%

Disagree%

I'm looking for stability more than excitement right now

73

26

Staying home and being close to my family appeals to me more than usual

72

28

I'm making more important decisions about my life than I was before

61

38

I'm watching more television than usual

50

50

I've been listening to music more than usual

40

58

I'm paying down more credit card debt than I usually do

35

58

I'm using the Internet more than usual

32

65

Long term investments are less of a priority for me than they usually are

31

67

Trying new and even risky leisure activities appeals to me more than usual

17

82

I'm spending my money as if there were no tomorrow

8

92

Signs of Bunkering Down When respondents were asked to comment on their spending plans for specific products and services over the next 6 months, a pattern and story emerged whereby Americans look poised to fortify their homes and personal lives with comfort. Of 10 items read to respondents, only 2 elicited significantly greater proportions planning to increase rather than decrease spending on them: home entertainment (like DVD players, large screen TVs, satellite TV, or digital cable upgrades) and home furnishings and decoration. By contrast, airline travel and leisure vacations are not high on Americans' spending priorities.

Americans' Spending Intentions on 10 Product/Service Categories

"Thinking of specific products and services, do you plan to increase, decrease, or maintain your spending on the following in the next 6 months?" (Each item asked of half the sample)

160

Increase%

Decrease %

Maintain %

Home furnishings and decorating

22

17

61

Home entertainment

19

16

64

Computers, computer software, or computer upgrades

19

19

61

Music products like CDs, stereo equipment, or MP3 players

15

15

70

Out-of-house entertainment like movies, sports games, or theatre

15

15

70

Restaurants

13

14

74

Wireless technologies like cell phones or pagers

12

14

72

Leisure vacations

15

20

66

Airline travel

13

21

65

Lottery tickets

3

15

78

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