New Year, But Same Unsettled Economy
Although the calendar flipped to a new year this month, it appears consumers have carried over their economic concerns from 2007. According to BIGresearch’s Consumer Intentions & Actions survey for January, only 33.6 percent of the respondents are very confident or confident that the economy will be strong, the lowest total recorded since September ’05 (33.4 percent, post-Hurricane Katrina). The recent survey polled more than 8,000 consumers. Here are some more noteworthy findings:
* 41.2 percent indicated they plan to become more practical and realistic in their purchasing, up from last month (40.3 percent) and January ’07 (39.6 percent);
* 49.9 percent are focusing on needs over wants in purchasing, up from December (47.4 percent) and January ’07 (48.5 percent);
* 37.1 percent plan to pay down debt, up from 35.6 percent last month;
* 33.7 percent plan to decrease overall spending, up 4.5 percent from last month;
* 28.3 percent will look to increase savings, up from last month’s 26.4 percent;
* 23 percent of the respondents plan to pay more often with cash to ease the use of their credit cards in the post-holiday season;
* 41.5 percent are consolidating their shopping trips to combat high gas prices, 40.6 percent are doing their retail shopping closer to home, 35.4 percent are conducting online searches for sales and 29 percent are clipping coupons; and
* purchase intentions for several major categories — furniture, housing, major home improvements, stereo equipment and vacation travel — are all up from December; computer, TV and digital camera purchases are all flat.
For more information go to www.bigresearch.com .