Positive Economic News Fails to Shake Consumer Pessimism

Enthusiasm for Holiday Shopping Dampened as Most Americans Remain Doubtful about Economic Recovery

Dec 02, 2010, 09:05 ET from StrategyOne

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite some positive economic news in recent days, most Americans remain deeply concerned about the state of the U.S. economy. The StrategyOne Annual Holiday Shopping Index found that 79% believe the U.S. remains in a recession; only 10% rate the economy as excellent or good; and just eight percent think the economy will be much better by next year. The public opinion poll of 1,072 Americans was conducted by strategic polling firm StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman company.

This pessimism is influencing consumers' holiday shopping, with 39% concerned enough about the economy that they are planning to spend less during the holidays than they did last year. Another 52% said they were uncertain about the future and planned to keep their spending in line with last year's holiday spending. Beyond that, 36% thought spending a lot of money on gifts was in bad taste this year with so many people still out of work.

The cynicism emerging from the survey data stands in stark contrast to reports which seem to suggest an improvement in the nation's economic fortunes – including that the consumer confidence index has risen to its highest level since June, that consumer spending is up for the fourth consecutive month, and that new data shows unemployment benefits have fallen to levels not seen since 2008.

"Consumers are saying 'not so fast' on calling a recovery," said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne.  "Even though there has been some good news about the economy, consumers are still unsettled about the future."

News of the recent burst of the housing bubble in Ireland and the possible need for an economic bailout there also concerned some consumers, with 43% worried about the impact on the U.S. economy.

Survey Methodology:

StrategyOne conducted 1,072 online interviews among a representative sampling of Americans between November 22 and 23, 2010. The margin of sampling error at the 95% level of confidence is = +/- 3.14% overall and larger for subgroups. Statistical weights were designed from the United States Census Bureau statistics. 

About the StrategyOne Holiday Shopping Index:

The Annual StrategyOne Holiday Shopping Index is a weekly public opinion survey of U.S. consumers, which occurs between the middle of November and the end of December 2010.

For more information about the Shopping Index, please visit the StrategyOne website; http://www.strategyone.net/HolidayIndex.html

Full Question Texts & Survey Data:

Question text: I believe the U.S. economy is ...?



In a recession


No longer in a recession


Question text: The rating I give the economy today is ...?











Question text: By this time next year, the U.S. economy will be ...?



Much better than it is now


Somewhat better than it is now


Somewhat worse than it is now


Much worse than it is now


Question text: Which of the following statements do you agree with more?



The recession is over in my mind, and I am definitely ready to spend more this holiday season than I did last year


I am uncertain about the future and therefore I will try and keep my holiday spending about in line with what I spent last year


I am still very concerned about the economy and my own personal finances and therefore I will definitely spend less this holiday season than I did a year ago


Question text: People who spend a lot of money this holiday season on gifts and presents are acting in bad taste because so many people are out of work. Do you ...?







Question text: How much of an impact do you expect that the burst of the Irish housing bubble will have on the U.S. economy ...?



A great deal




Only a little


None at all


About StrategyOne:

StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman company, employs custom public opinion research and secondary research methodologies to deliver strategic counsel to corporate, organizational and governmental clients globally.  With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, London, New York, Paris, San Mateo, Washington, D.C., and Abu Dhabi, StrategyOne provides global clients with evidence based stakeholder insights, analysis and measurement. Visit www.strategyone.net for more information.

About Edelman:

Edelman is the world's largest independent public relations firm, with wholly-owned offices in 53 cities and 3,600 employees worldwide.  Edelman was named Advertising Age's top-ranked PR firm of the decade and one of its 2010 Best Places to Work; Adweek's "2009 Agency of the Year"; PRWeek's "2009 Agency of the Year" and "UK Consultancy of the Year"; and Holmes Report's "Agency of the Decade," "2009 Best Large Agency to Work For" and "2009 Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year." Edelman owns specialty firms Blue (advertising), StrategyOne (research), RUTH (integrated marketing), DJE Science (medical and science communications), and MATTER (sports, sponsorship, and entertainment).  Visit www.edelman.com for more information

SOURCE StrategyOne