American Spending Trends Signal Rising Confidence

According to the results of The Harris Poll of U.S. adults surveyed online between June 11 and 16, 2014, Americans are loosening their purse strings in several key areas, backing off of several key efficiencies and cutbacks in comparison to a year ago, indicating more confidence in their financial prospects for the near future. Looking further back, American financial attitudes continue to show great improvement over a few years ago.

When asked to look at cutbacks they've instituted over the past six months to save money, fewer Americans are cutting back on common daily and monthly expenditures in comparison to a year ago.

Some key decreases in such behaviors include fewer Americans saying they're purchasing more generic brands and are brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it, along with fewer saying they've cancelled magazine or newspaper subscriptions, and that they've cut down on dry cleaning.  Women are more likely than men to say they're purchasing more generic brands, and that they're going to the hairdresser, barber or stylist less often, says the report.

Those with children in the household are more likely than those without to indicate brown bagging lunch, cancelling landline phone service, changing or cancelling cell phone service, and that they've begun carpooling or using mass transit.

Key Consumer Cutbacks To Save Money (% of Respondents)

Money Saving Cutback

June 2014

June 2013

Purchase more generic brands

56%

62%

Brown-bagging lunch

39

44

Hair care less often

35

39

Refillable water bottles (vs. purchase)

34

38

Canceled one or more magazine subscription

24

29

Cancelled or cut back cable TV

22

24

Stopped purchasing coffee in the morning

19

22

Cancelled landline phone service for cell

17

20

Cut down on dry cleaning

17

22

Changed or cancelled cell phone

16

17

Cancelled newspaper subscription

13

18

Began carpooling or mass transit

12

15

Source: Harris Interactive, July 2014

Americans are less likely than a year ago to say that they plan on decreasing their spending on eating out at restaurants within the next six months. U.S. adults are also less likely than a year ago to say they'll reduce spending on entertainment. And, they show no year-over-year change in their likelihood to say they'll save or invest more money in the next six months, or that they'll have more money to spend the way they want.

Looking at things generationally, younger Americans are more likely to anticipate both cutting back and spending big. Echo Boomers, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are all more likely than Matures to indicate they plan both restaurant and entertainment cutbacks, while Millennials are more likely than any other generation to indicate they plan on saving or investing more money, says the report.

On the other hand, Millennials are also more likely than Baby Boomers or Matures to indicate they expect to have more money to spend they way they want in the next six months. Additionally, Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than Baby Boomers or Matures to anticipate buying a house or condo within that time.

Spending/Savings Over Next Six Months (Very/Somewhat Likely; Generation, Gender & Children in Household; % of Group)

 

Generation

Gender

Children in Household

Reduction

Total

Millennials

Gen X

Boomers

Matures

Male

Female

Yes

No

Decrease spending eating out at restaurants

56%

60%

60%

55%

45%

55%

58%

62%

54%

Reduce spending on entertainment

53

55

55

54

43

50

56

57

51

Save or invest more money

50

64

45

46

37

52

49

55

49

Take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week

37

34

37

35

46

40

34

35

37

Have more money to spend the way you want

32

38

32

29

28

34

31

35

31

Buy a new computer

24

29

27

20

18

26

22

34

20

Move to a different residence

18

33

16

10

5

19

17

22

16

Buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van

17

19

20

16

10

19

15

23

14

Purchase a house or condo

10

15

12

6

2

9

10

15

8

Start a new business

7

12

9

4

*

7

7

11

5

Buy a boat or recreational vehicle (e.g. trailer, motor home)

5

9

8

2

1

5

5

11

3

Source: Harris Interactive, July 2014

Please visit Harris Interactive here for additional information

 

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