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America's Research Group Study Documents Consumer Pessimism

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In April, 24.5% of American consumers postponed a major purchase (an item of $500 or more) due to concerns that are dramatically different from those a year ago in April when 22.9% said they delayed a major purchase, according to a Consumer Mind Reader ™ survey conducted by America’s Research Group (ARG). In April 2007, consumers were hedging, saying that they “did not want to spend the money right now” (31.4%); this year that number dropped to 23.5%. “This year most consumers did not even try to shop,” said C. Britt Beemer, founder and CEO of ARG, “They just stayed home to save on gas prices.” He called the new consumer mindset a negative sign for retailers at least into 2009. The big worry factors for consumers are higher gas prices (26.5%), waiting for a tax refund (26%), job security (11.2%) and credit card debt (9.7%). One year ago, consumers said that a major purchase was “more than they wanted to spend,” “couldn’t find what they wanted,” didn’t have time,” all of which registered at 0.0% this year. At the time, they were less concerned about higher gas prices (17.0%) and job security (5.2%) and not at all worried about credit card debt. See table attached. The study of 800 telephone interviews with adult consumers in early May 2008, with an error factor of plus or minus 4.3%, was compared to the study of 1,000 adults in May 2007 with an error factor of plus or minus 3.8%. 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 29 years.

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