Consumers More Upbeat

customer confidenceWhile still working towards an index level of 90, which economists consider the threshold for a stable economy, December’s consumer confidence level of 60 is something to be positive about, as it is the highest since April. The Consumer Confidence index stood at 64.5 in December, a significant increase from 55.2 in November. According to a monthly survey by the Conference Board, the index rating wasn’t all that saw an increase. More shoppers believe that business conditions are good, with 16.6 percent responding positively, compared with November’s 13.9 percent.

Consumer Confidence Highlight of the Holidays

Much of the data was similar for other indexes and surveys focused around consumer confidence during and after the holiday season. The Los Angeles Times reports, “Pollster Gallup said December was the most optimistic month since June.” Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan also received positive feedback, as 29 percent of customers surveyed are expecting good economic times ahead, compared with 19 percent who said the same in November.

How is this increase in consumer confidence actually affecting shopping habits? The NPD Group Inc. released statistics that indicate nearly seven in ten consumers went shopping at brick and mortars during the week before Christmas, and spent 4.7 percent more per visit than the week prior. The Los Angeles Times highlights, “Beauty stores saw 31 percent more visits from shoppers, while apparel vendors enjoyed a 26 percent bump. Bookstores, shoe stores and department stores also experienced double digit increases.”

Check out our Industry Headlines to read about other consumer reports and surveys.