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Consumer Confidence Down 26 Percentage Points

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American shoppers are feeling a credit crunch and reducing spending, with 27% of consumers saying that they feel pressure from credit card bills, compared with less than 16% a year ago, according to C. Britt Beemer, founder and CEO of America’s Research Group (ARG). In a speech tonight to the Executive Advisory Board of the University of Florida Retail Centre in Orlando, Florida, Beemer will explain that only 28% of shoppers feel “really confident” today, compared with 36% two months ago and down from 54% a year ago. Beemer’s figures are based on bi-monthly Consumer Mind Reader™ surveys that have been conducted by ARG over a 10-year period. “More consumers are changing their shopping habits and cutting back more today than any time in the last five years,” Beemer says. “We could see a 10% to 16% decline over the July 4th weekend,” he adds. Memorial Day shopping was down from 8% on the West Coast to 11% on the East Coast, according to ARG findings. Of those shoppers who had reduced spending levels this year because of the credit crunch and other factors, 53% were “buying fewer items.” Only 24% of a comparable group last year were “buying fewer items.” Gas prices also had an impact, with 36% of shoppers going to stores nearest their home, up from 28% just two months ago. Beemer will advise the retail executives to do a better job in changing marketing strategies to accommodate the new American consumer, including addressing the problems of declining consumer loyalty. The Consumer Mind Reader™ survey of 1,000 consumers was conducted from May 5th to May 9th. America’s Research Group is the consumer behavior marketing firm that provides clients the insight, strategy and tactics to increase market share. America’s Research Group’s expertise in consumer behavior has made it a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers in the nation for 25 years.

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