This month’s Consumer Snapshot video is a brief look at consumer confidence and practical purchase intentions. For September, we also examine our preliminary Holiday Gift Spending Outlook for consumers.

Highlights from the September 2017 Consumer Snapshot:

SENTIMENT

In September, economic sentiment confidence slides for the third month in a row. This month, 52% of consumers are confident or very confident in the economy, down a point from last month, but continuing to represent a more than 10% increase year over year. The current reading is tracking just ahead of the 13 month average of 51.2%.

SHOPPING STRATEGY

While macro economic sentiment shifted downward from last month, consistency continues with spending strategies. This month, 37.5% indicate that they’ve become more practical with their purchases, on par with August as well as September 2016. Pragmatic purchase intentions are also tracking right along with the 13 month average of 37.4%.

We see just a little more movement when evaluating consumers’ focus on needs when at the store. This month, two in five indicate that they are zeroing in on just the necessities when shopping, down about a point from August and almost two points from September 2016. Additionally, the current reading lands just under the 13 month average of 42%.

SPECIAL FEATURE

While Halloween is next on the horizon for shoppers, we couldn’t resist asking for their preliminary thoughts on holiday gift budgets this month. While those planning to spend “more” this year than last is relatively even at 13%, slightly fewer plan to spend “less” compared to what we recorded in 2016 – encouraging news for retailers. The majority plans to spend about the “same,” increasing marginally year over year. All in all, this preliminary outlook appears to be relatively positive; however, it doesn’t look like shoppers’ spending plans will be overly optimistic this holiday season.

Prosper’s Holiday Spending Score was developed from these more-same-less insights. The Score’s purpose is to try to get a better directional read on consumers’ overall spending outlook for the holiday season. Despite a significant rise in consumer confidence this year, the 2017 Score remains in line with the previous few years – represented by the dark blue trend line – suggesting that planned gift spending for the upcoming holiday season will again total in the $600 range.

Directionally speaking, Prosper’s preliminary Spending Score has served as a relatively accurate bellwether for consumers’ holiday intentions. For the past couple of seasons, the Holiday Spending Score foreshadowed a relatively flat year over year planned gift spending outlook in September, before the National Retail Federation released actual planned spending figures the following October.