Home > Consumer Behavior & Trends, Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey, Economy > 5 Facts You Need to Know About the 2012 Consumer

5 Facts You Need to Know About the 2012 Consumer

For the first BIG Call of the New Year, I had the privilege of presenting our new January data with Dr. Marianne Bickle, director of the Center for Retailing at the University of South Carolina and author of the soon-to-be-released book, The Changing American Consumer (written in cooperation with the Prosper Foundation).

This month, we discussed the 5 Fact You Need to Know About the 2012 Consumer:

1. Consumer Confidence is Questionable: Back in January 2007, 50.5% of consumers were very confident or confident in the chances for a strong economy. Our current level of confidence is 40% below that heyday, and we really haven’t made any headway on confidence as it compares to when we were weathering the recession.

2. Economic Rebound is Becoming Less Realistic: This month, we found that about a third of consumers are positive that the economy will rebound to its pre-recession glory. That’s down a couple of points from last year’s reading, but represents a full 20% decline from January 2010. More consumers today have a pessimistic take on any potential bounceback or just view our economic situation with a big question mark.

3. Budgeting is BIG: A couple of times a year, we ask consumers if they think that the current economic crisis will impact their lifestyles over the next 5 years. This month, the top lifestyle impact was sticking to a budget, which edged out considering purchases more carefully and becoming more price conscious when shopping for food and clothing (the latter two had been slightly more popular for the past two January readings.)

4. Practicality is Rising, while Impulse Spending is Declining: Over the past five years, practicality has been steadily increasing. This month, nearly 50% indicated that they were pragmatic in their purchases, up almost 10 points from five years ago. Those focused on needs over wants – and thus less focused on immediate impulse buys – follow this same trend, only on a slightly higher plane. This month, about three in five are only focused on the necessities when at the store, much higher than the 48.5% who said the same in January 2007.

5. Targeted Spending Hits the Bull’s-Eye: While spending may be perking up from the heart of the recession, we certainly aren’t seeing a recovery in spending…but that doesn’t mean that consumers have clamped their wallets shut. BIG Ticket purchase plans over the next six months for items like Autos, Computers, Furniture, Mobile Devices, and TVs, have improved from one year ago.

To listen to the recorded webinar, click here.

P.S. Dr. Marianne Bickle is also a regular contributor on our Prosper Now Blog on Forbes.com. Click over to read her latest entry, JCPenney’s Consumers Voice Opinions Regarding Sales.

For more information on this data or for release information on The Changing American Consumer, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: Consumer Intentions & Actions® Survey – JAN-12 (N = 9317, 1/4 – 1/11/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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