Young Women Most Optimistic About Recovery

As consumer spending continues to improve, a new study from Boston Consulting Group says that in U.S., progress continues to be lumpy and unpredictable. While Gen Y (especially women), dual-income couples with no kids, and financially secure empty nesters are most likely to say they intend to spend more in the year ahead, there's still plenty of evidence that in many areas, Americans are determined to keep their belts extra-tight.

In fact, even as consumers around the world get bored with trading down, Americans are more enthusiastic—with some 53% saying they are actively seeking to trade down in some purchases, up 5 percentage points from the same time last year. But even that is fairly uneven, according to the lengthy report, dubbed "A New World Order of Consumption: Consumers in a Turbulent Recovery." While Americans are happy to trade down in such categories as paper products, fast food restaurants, cell phone contracts, cleaners, soft drinks and snack foods, they're reluctant to do so in furnishings for their home or apartment furnishings, washers and dryers, or organic food.

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