U.S. consumer confidence stabilizing

Sentiment remains at pandemic high, statistically unchanged from last week

The author(s)

  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist
  • Sara Machi Research Analyst, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, March 25, 2021 — Americans’ sentiment about the economy holds close to pre-pandemic levels with the overall confidence index reading at 58.3 in this week’s Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Confidence Tracker, statistically unchanged from the week prior. Sentiment wavers across the Current, Expectations, and Investment sub-indices, while the Jobs sub-index surges 3.7 points.

While Americans are growing more confident in their job security, other indicators suggest lingering economic unease. The percentages of Americans who say they are more comfortable making both major and other household purchases rose to their pandemic high point last week, but those gains dissipated this week.

However, parents, men, white Americans, those aged 35-54, and those earning $50k to $100k show higher levels of overall confidence this week than they have at any time in one year.


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 58.3, the latest overall Consumer Confidence is statistically unchanged from last week (-0.2 point).

  • The Confidence Index is currently 7.8 points above the pandemic average, and 1.8 points lower than where it stood in early March 2020 (60.1).

Consumer Confidence

2. The Current sub-index, indicative of sentiment about today’s economic environment, is down less than 1 point (-0.9 point) while the Expectations and Investment sub-indices see more meaningful losses (-1.3 and -2.0 points respectively).

  • All three sub-indices remain well above their pandemic averages.

Sub-indices

3. The Jobs sub-index surges 3.7 points this week, reaching the highest point of the pandemic. Confidence in jobs security shows new improvement 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%, down 5 points from last week.
  • In addition, 38% 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 4 points from last week.
  • 57% say that, compared to 6 months ago, they are now more confident about job security for themselves, their family, and personal acquaintances, up 4 points from last week and 5 points from two weeks ago.

4. A majority of Americans believe that the economy will recover quickly once pandemic restrictions are lifted (56%), down 5 points from last week and equivalent to two weeks ago.

Recover quickly

5. Just over half of Americans favor restarting the economy even if the virus is not yet fully contained (52% agree, 2 points up from last week). The share of those who disagree has fallen to 42%, down 4 points from last week.

Restart

6. Purchasing confidence for both major items and other household items, which peaked last week, reverts to levels seen two to three weeks ago.

  • Those who say they are more comfortable making a major purchase compared to six months ago fell 5 points from last week to 47%.

Major Purchase

  • Compared to six months ago, 52% say they are more comfortable making other household purchases than they were six months ago, down 3 points 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 March 23-24, 2021 with a sample of 942 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 2018 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 of the following (n=942, DEFF=1.5, 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.

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]

For more information on COVID-19 please click here

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)

  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist
  • Sara Machi Research Analyst, Public Affairs

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