Are consumers still intent on hunkering down and hanging on to their cash? Well, yes. But the good news is that this thrifty, cautious attitude is thawing some from levels measured by The Harris Poll back in March. Not many are looking for a car or new home, but may be a bit more willing to indulge in a night out, at least.
In March, and again in May, Harris asked about spending/savings habits over the next six months.
In May 66% said they would probably decrease spending on restaurants, but that’s an improvement on March, when 74% were planning to cut back.
In May, 64% planned reductions in entertainment spending, again not great but better than March, when 74% were planning cutbacks.
53% are expecting to increase investments or savings, compared to only 50% in March. And 26% think they’ll have more money to spend as they wish, compared with only 21% in March.
When it comes to big ticket purchases or life changes, little changed between the two months. Comparing May to March, new computer purchase plans fell to 21% from 22%; new residence plans fell to 19% from 20%; buying or leasing a new vehicle rose to 12% from 11%, buying a house of condo fell to 9% from 10%; and buying a recreational vehicle was flat at 5%.
Harris noted one minor downer: only 8% of respondents plan to open a new business, compared to 10% in the March survey.
RBR/TVBR observation: We’ll really be happy when people have a new sense of security which is so strong that they run right out waving their wallets and ready to celebrate. Until then, we’re at least happy that at the very least we’re starting to see some incremental improvements.