This month’s Consumer Snapshot video is a brief look at consumer confidence and practical purchase intentions. For July, we also review our semi-annual findings on shoppers’ outlook for an economic rebound and views on personal wealth.
Highlights from the July 2017 Consumer Snapshot:
This month, 53.9% of consumers are confident or very confident in the economy, representing a more than 30% increase over July 2016. The current reading is also tracking ahead of the 13 month average of 49.6%. And from a historical perspective, this month’s figure is the most optimistic sentiment recorded for July within the last decade.
With macro economic sentiment holding steady from last month, spending strategies follow in kind. This month, 36.8% indicate that they’ve become more practical with their purchases, flat from June and lowering nearly two points year over year.
We see similar trends when evaluating consumers’ focus on needs when at the store. This month, just over two in five indicate that they are zeroing in on just the necessities when shopping, also consistent with June and lowering a point from July 2016.
Twice a year, we ask consumers about their thoughts about an economic rebound. This month, about two in five are positive about an economic rebound, rising more than 10% year over year. Those unsure about the economy’s future remain a relatively stable 38.1%. And on a positive note, pessimists declined for the fourth straight year. Currently, about one in five is not hopeful for a rebound, reaching a low for this nearly decade old question.
With economic sentiment remaining elevated, the stock exchange continuing a bull run, and consumers seeming a bit more willing to spend, it might come as little surprise that consumers are feeling a more wealthy compared to July 2016. This month, more than one in five feels better about their personal wealth situation, rising more than 20% from a year ago. The majority continues to feel the same, while about one in four feels less wealthy – a decline of nearly 20% from July 2016.
All in all, it appears that consumers are feeling more optimistic about their financial situations, which could bode well for retailers headed into the critical back to school shopping season. Indeed, our research indicates that parents are planning to spend a bit more on students headed back to class this year, for both K through 12 and college. For more on our Back-to-School insights for 2017, which were released by the National Retail Federation, visit the NRF’s Back-to-School Headquarters.