Thursday, March 09, 2006

Consumer Confidence Down But Future Brighter

The February BIGresearch Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey finds that consumer confidence declines three points from last month yet the 90 day outlook brightens as all categories improve from January and fewer consumers contend they've become more practical in the last 6 months.

Some of the leading projection categories provide clues about the consumer marketplace immediate future:
  • Confidence in chances for a strong economy declines 44.3%...also down from '05 (47.7%) and '04 (49.4%)
  • Those concerned about political and national security issues rise in February to 18.2%, compared to 16.4% last month, though relatively even with '05 (18.0%)
  • Fewer consumers have become more practical in the last 6 months, now at 42.2% (down from 44.6% last month), thought an increase from last year (39.2%)
  • The majority of consumers say they focus more on needs over wants in purchases (51.5%), relatively flat from January (51.8%) and an increase from '05 (47.4%)

Considering the personal and financial attitudes of the consumer:

  • 42.8% expect "more" layoffs over the next 6 months (up from 34.4% last month), while those concerned with becoming laid off themselves rises slightly from 4.7% in January to 4.9%
  • More plan to "pay down debt" (43.5%) over the next three months, compared to last month (42.3%), though fewer contend they'll pay with cash more often (24.4%) and decrease overall spending (31.5%)
  • Last month, 31.4% said gas prices were having "no major impact" on spending, compared to 29.9% this month. In February '05, 48.4% cited "no major impact."

And with regards to retail plans for consumers:

  • 38.6% say familiar fashion labels are important, up from 35.9% in '05
  • 72.1% say price is the driving force behind their preference to shop a particular store for Electronics, followed by selection (57.2%), location (46.2%), quality (38.6%), and service (27.6%)
  • Those in the 25-44 year old age range spent about 5% more than the average for major electronics in the last 12 months, but about twice the monthly average on smaller items like CDs, DVDs, and flash memory

Find more information about the BIG Executive Briefing here. Text taken from Center for Media Research daily Research Brief.

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