U.S. consumers increasingly oppose reopening the economy until the virus is fully contained

Consumer confidence shows a slight dip vs. last week

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
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Visit our interactive portal, Ipsos Consolidated Economic Indicators (IpsosGlobalIndicators.com) for graphic comparisons and trended data pertaining to the Ipsos Global Consumer Confidence Index and  sub-indices -- and all the questions on which they are based.


Washington, DC, July 30, 2020 — Consumer sentiment is down slightly as Ipsos’s U.S. Consumer Confidence Index registers a drop shy of one point from last week to 48.7.

Continuing a trend observed over the past several weeks, fewer Americans believe that the economy will rebound quickly once restrictions to control the coronavirus are lifted (43% from 45% last week). In parallel, the proportion of Americans who agree that businesses should be allowed to reopen even if the virus is still not fully contained dropped to 40%, down from 43% the week prior; 54% disagree, up from 52%.

While the Expectations index dipped by 1.2 points from last week nationally, it fell more sharply in the South, by 2.8 points to 60.6. The Expectations index is lower in the South than it is nationally (61.1) for the first time during the pandemic, likely reflecting the record-setting numbers of new coronavirus cases across the region, especially in Florida and Texas.

Nationally, the cumulative number of reported coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 4 million in late July. Though new infections appear to have peaked, the death toll and hospitalizations continue to rise.

Detailed Findings

1. Scoring at 48.7, the latest overall Consumer Confidence index fell less than 1 point from last week (-0.9).

  • The Confidence index is currently 14.7 points lower than it was at the beginning of the year (63.4), and 11.4 points lower than in early March (60.1).

National Index

2. As is the case for the overall Consumer Confidence index, two of the four sub-indices, the Current index and the Expectations index, show a drop of about one point from last week.

  • The Current index, indicative of sentiment about today’s economic environment, fell by 0.8 point.
  • The Expectations index, indicative of Americans’ outlook about their financial situation, local economy, and employment, fell by 1.2 points.

3. The Jobs index fell by only 0.3 point, even as new unemployment claims rose for the second week in a row. Continuing unemployment claims stood at 17 million. Taken together these signals suggest that some sectors may be under strain amid the surge in new coronavirus cases.

  • This week, 44% say they, someone in their family, or someone else they know personally lost their job in the last six months as a result of economic conditions.
  • In addition, 19% think this will be the case in the next six months (down from 20% last week, and down from 29% in late March-early April).
  • The number of Americans feeling a sense of trepidation about job security climbed 2 points, with 60% this week saying that they feel less confident about job security for themselves, their family, and other people they know.

4. The Investment index remained unchanged.

Sub-indices5. Relative to last week, the percentage of Americans who believe that the economy will recover quickly once restrictions are relaxed fell 2 points (43%, down from 45% last week).

Recover quickly6. Fewer Americans believe that businesses should be allowed to reopen even if the virus is not contained (40% agree down from 43% last week; 54% disagree up from 52% last week)

Restart the economy

7. Most Americans remain uncomfortable with making major and other household purchases.

  • Compared to six months ago, 64% say they are less comfortable making a major purchase like a home or a car, consistent with the past two weeks.

Major Purchase

  • Compared to six months ago, 59% say they are less comfortable making other household purchases, consistent with 60% last week and 59% the week before.

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 extend 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 July 28-29, 2020 with a sample of 965 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=965, 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
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

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The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Catherine Morris Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs

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