Latest Consumer Insights: August 2012

Early each month, we release our Executive Briefing – complimentary topline insights from our latest Monthly Consumer Survey of more than 8,000 consumers.

And, we’ve just released our latest edition for August. Here’s what you may have missed:

– Economic sentiment climbs for a second consecutive month. This month’s reading was up a point from July and increased 65% from Aug-11…WHAT?! Recall that the debt ceiling crisis reached a fever pitch this time a year ago; as a result, confidence in the economy plummeted to its lowest point in more than two years. While this month’s reading is a step in the right direction, it remains well below pre-recession Aug-07.

– With the official U.S. unemployment rate failing to improve for yet another month, July’s relatively bullish outlook for hiring fades in August. Trepidation about personally becoming laid off continues to be evident this month.

– The slight boost in confidence this month has the opposite effect on practical purchasing tendencies. Will this trend continue? Don’t bet on it…as we approach the autumn months, shoppers may begin to pull back as they start bracing themselves for holiday spending.

– With national average gas prices creeping back up into the upper $3/gal range over the past month, you can expect smart shopping strategies to continue among the nearly three-quarters who say they’ve been impacted by the pain at the pump. Drivers are anticipating an average pump price of $3.76/gal by August 30, $0.30 higher than their forecast for the close of July ($3.46/gal).

– Are shoppers turning to EDLP when it comes to buying clothing? This month, 16.0% indicated that “sales aren’t important to me” when purchasing apparel, increasing from Aug-11 and Aug-10. However with the vast majority either “usually” or “only” buying clothing on sale, retailers ought to be prepared for bargain-hunting Back-to-School shoppers this month.

– Foot Locker gets its kicks again in Shoes this month, with the specialty store once again bumping JC Penney out of the Top 5 for this category.

– When it comes to the reasons why shoppers choose a particular store most often for Groceries, it’s the usual suspects: price, location, selection, and quality. But divide the rationale by the type of store shopped, and you’ll see additional interesting reasons to shop…

– Is this Back-to-Shopping season? With school nearly in session, popular categories like Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Health & Beauty Aids, and Electronics are looking UPward over the next 90 days, according to the BIGinsight™ Diffusion Index.

– While Michael Phelps is certainly golden in the pool, he’s a bit like a fish out of water compared to back-to-school shopping…plus: sales tax holidays, Ryan Lochte, and colored denim

To sign up to receive the monthly BIGinsight™ Executive Briefing, please click here.

And, to view the latest BIG Executive Briefing in its entirely: August 2012.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – AUG-12 (N = 9426, 8/1 – 8/7/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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