U.S. consumer sentiment rallies

Purchasing confidence rebounds as federal coronavirus relief plan materializes

The author(s)

  • Sara Machi Research Analyst, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, January 8, 2021 — In the new year and with another round of stimulus checks approved, consumer confidence indexes at 53.5 in this week’s Ipsos-Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Confidence Tracker, an increase of 3.4 points from our last 2020 reading one week before Christmas.

All related indices are up at least 2 points from three weeks ago, with the Jobs Index experiencing the largest increase of more than 5 points. The Expectations Index saw the smallest uptick of 2 points.

Consumer confidence has increased or stayed stable across all demographics when compared to three weeks ago.

Purchasing confidence shows significant improvement from mid-December, with greater percentages of Americans more comfortable making both large and small purchases.


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 53.5, the latest overall Consumer Confidence rose 3.4 points from three weeks ago.

  • The Confidence index is currently 4.0 points above the pandemic average, yet 6.6 points lower than where it stood in early March (60.1).

Consumer Confidence

2. At 45.9 and 49.8 respectively, the Current and Investment indices are both up by more than 3 points. The Expectations index saw the least significant increase of all sub-indices, ticking up 2.0 points.

Sub-indices

3. The Jobs sub-index saw the greatest gain over the past three weeks, surging 5.1 points. With the start of the new year, first-time unemployment claims dipped just below 800,000.  

  • 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 41%, down 4 points from three weeks ago.
  • In addition, 46% 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 6 points from mid-December.

4. There is little change in views about how quickly a post-pandemic economic recovery will occur. Half of Americans believe that the economy will recover quickly once coronavirus restrictions are relaxed. 

Recover quickly

5. The gap between people who agree or disagree that the economy should be allowed to pick up again even before the virus is fully contained has grown from 2 points the week before Christmas to 6 points now. Just over half (51%) do not believe that businesses should be allowed to reopen if the virus is not curtailed.

Restart

6. With another round of stimulus checks either distributed or forthcoming, purchasing confidence is up significantly. 

 

  • Compared to six months ago, 44% say they are now more comfortable making a major purchase like a home or a car, up 6 points from three weeks ago.

Major Purchase

  • Compared to six months ago, 47% say they are more comfortable making other household purchases than they were six months ago, up 5 points from three weeks ago. 

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 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

Q. To what extent do you agree with the each of the following

  • The economy will recover quickly once the restrictions to control the coronavirus pandemic are relaxed.
  • 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 January 5-6, 2021 with a sample of 954 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 of the following (n=954, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.1 percentage points).

Findings from previous time periods going back to March 2011 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
chris.jackson@ipsos.com

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 718 755-8829
kate.silverstein@ipsos.com

For more information on COVID-19 please click here

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The author(s)

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

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