Consumers' Discretionary Spending Lower, Confidence Weak

Consumer confidence in the economy and personal finances, which are key economic indicators, worsened in June to the lowest levels since January 2012, the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor reports. The Monitor, a 5-year-old daily poll, which tracks economic confidence and spending intentions of nearly 8,200 consumers, reports a decline of 4.8 points to 90.7 in June.

More consumers expect spending on major personal purchases, like vacations, in the next month to be lower, with a 6-point increase to 48 percent, Discover says.

The percentage of respondents who view the U.S. economy as improving dropped 4 percentage points to 29 percent in June.

At the same time, 53 percent of consumers now rate the U.S. economy as poor, which is an increase of 3 percentage points from the prior month and the highest level since January 2012.

Half of women now expect the economy to get worse, up 4 percentage points from last month; only 48 percent of men expect the same economic trend, and this remains unchanged from the prior month.

Personal finances also worsen, the report says. Consumer sentiment about personal finances declined in June compared to May. Consumers rating their finances as fair remained at 40 percent. However, those who view their finances as excellent or good was 4 percentage points lower at 33 percent while those who view their finances as poor increased 2 percentage points to 24 percent.

Consumers who anticipate their personal finances getting worse increased 4 percentage points to 47 percent.    

The percent of parents with kids at home who believe their personal finances will get worse increased 8 percentage points to 48 percent and, for 18 to 39-year olds, there was a 6 percentage point increase to 44 percent.

Consumers’ declining confidence in the economy and their personal finances is affecting their spending intentions as well, Discover says. While half of respondents plan to spend about the same next month, those expecting to spend more dropped 4 percentage points to 25 percent. Expectations for lower spending on home improvements increased 4 percentage points from the prior month to 48 percent.
Nearly 47 percent of consumers expect to spend less on discretionary purchases like going out to dinner or the movies. However, those expecting to spend more held steady at 12 percent, Discover said.   

More consumers expect spending on major personal purchases, like vacations, in the next month to be lower, with a 6-point increase to 48 percent.

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor is a monthly index of consumer spending intentions and capacity that is based on interviews with a random sample of 8,200 U.S. adults conducted at a rate of 275 per night. In addition to spending, the survey asks consumers their opinions on the U.S. economy and their personal finances. The Monitor began in May 2007 with a base index of 100.

Visit www.discover.com

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