The Pulse: Investing and the Economy

The Pulse of the American Consumer is focused on continued insight into consumer sentiments for businesses across all industries.

 

American consumers shared how they feel about various elements of the U.S. economy in relation to change drivers, spending habits, and how they would save more money. They also weighted in on their overall investment strategies and beliefs and which areas are more short-term vs. long-term investments. In order for businesses to have the most success connecting with their consumers, they have to understand them – what they are interested in, what they need, and how they feel. At ENGINE, we have the real-time pulse of the consumer, today, and always. Throughout 2021, we are offering weekly insights by identifying important data points and trends from the voice of the consumer.

 

KEY FINDINGS AS OF November 14, 2021:

Prefer to view as PDF? Click here. 
Prefer plain text? Click here. 
The Pulse of the American Consumer v42 pt 1
The Pulse of the American Consumer v42 pt 2

If you would like more information on ENGINE CARAVAN surveys, contact us below:

At ENGINE, we will be keeping up with the pulse of the consumer throughout 2021, and are regularly running our CARAVAN surveys on current social issues. Contact us at caravaninfo@enginegroup.com for more information or for the full CARAVAN survey findings.

This Online CARAVAN® omnibus surveys were conducted on January 8-10, January 15-17, January 22-24, January 29-31, February 5-7, February 12-14,  February 19-21, February 26-28, March 5-7, March 12-14, March 19-21, March 26-28, April 2-4, April 9-11, April 16-18, April 23-25, April 30-May 2, May 7-9, May 14-16, May 21-23, June 2-6, June 11-13, June 18-20, June 25-27, July 9-11, July 16-18, July 23-25, July 30-August 1,  August 6-8, August 13-15, August 20-22, August 27-29, September 10-12, September 17-19, September 24-26, October 1-3, October 8-10, October 15-17, October 22-24, October 29-31, November 5-7, and November 12-14, 2021. Approximately 1,000 adults selected from opt-in panels were surveyed. The results are also weighted to U.S. Census data to be demographically representative.

Written by the CARAVAN team at ENGINE Insights.

The Pulse of the American Consumer

Consumer Insights for Business

The economic outlook, inflation, and cryptocurrency are all on the minds of Americans this week.

Gain insight on these issues and more in this week’s The Pulse of the American Consumer.

Economic Outlook and Update

Over the past 30 days, 70% of Americans have done at least one of the following as a direct result of the increased cost of living Americans are currently experiencing:

  • 28% Stocked up on grocery items, fearing that prices will get even higher
  • 25% Waited longer than usual to turn on the heat/set the thermostat lower than usual
  • 20% Postponed the purchase of a discretionary item to have more funds on hand for everyday necessities
  • 18% Cancelled specific plans to dine out or order takeout
  • 16% Cancelled plans for trips by car that weren’t absolutely necessary
  • 14% Postponed a short trip/getaway to have more funds on hand for everyday items
  • 14% Eating less/went on an unplanned diet
  • 14% Postponed the purchase of a major home appliance
  • 12% Drove around to look for a gas station that had the lowest price per gallon
  • 7% Adopted a far more plant-based diet due to the increased costs of meats/proteins

38% of U.S. Adults believe the economy will improve over the next 12 months — optimism is driven heavily by young consumers.

  • Gen Z – 41%
  • Millennials – 43%
  • Democrats – 59%

Still, 36% believe the economy will decline within the next year. Republicans (59%) appear to feel particularly pessimistic, as well as Baby Boomers (46%).

Of those that anticipate any change, positive or negative, the biggest drivers include:

  • 31% Actions by the Biden Administration
    • 49% Republicans
    • 19% Democrats
  • 17% What happens with inflation
  • 16% The rate of COVID-19 spreading
    • 9% Republicans
    • 19% Democrats
  • 9% Consumer spending
  • 8% The spread of mis-information on the internet and social media
    • 4% Republicans
    • 10% Democrats
  • 7% The rate of vaccinations in the U.S.
    • 3% Republicans
    • 10% Democrats
  • 4% Climate change
  • 4% Changes in interest rates
  • 2% China’s economic performance

Among those who think the economy will improve, the top drivers include:

  • 21% The rate of COVID-19 spreading
  • 19% Actions by the Biden Administration
  • 15% What happens with inflation

On the other hand, among those who see the economy declining, the top drivers include:

  • 45% Actions by the Biden Administration
  • 20% What happens with inflation
  • 10% The rate of COVID-19 spreading

In the event the U.S. economy were to experience a downturn over the next 12 months, 65% of U.S. consumers feel they are financially prepared to manage through it, though just 13% claim to be very well prepared. The 65% represents a 5% drop in feeling financially prepared when this data was previously collected during October 22-24.

Still, only 16% wouldn’t make any changes if there was a downturn – while many consumers would take some of the following actions:

  • 54% Reduce their daily spending
    • 44% Gen Z
    • 53% Millennials
    • 54% Gen X
    • 59% Baby Boomers
  • 37% Seek other ways of making money (e.g. a part-time job or side gig)
    • 41% Gen Z
    • 51% Millennials
    • 39% Gen X
    • 26% Baby Boomers
  • 33% Start saving more of their income
    • 42% Gen Z
    • 48% Millennials
    • 35% Gen X
    • 15% Baby Boomers
  • 16% Change their investment strategy
    • 30% Gen Z
    • 22% Millennials
    • 13% Gen X
    • 8% Baby Boomers
  • 11% Meet with a financial advisor to review and adjust their investments
    • 12% Gen Z
    • 14% Millennials
    • 10% Gen X
    • 10% Baby Boomers

A Special Update on Investing

31% of U.S. Adults believe they can become millionaires off crypto investments, driven heavily by young adults. 59% of Gen Z and 46% of Millennials believe they could become millionaires from crypto investments.

Of the following investment instruments, which do you trust with your money?

*Comparisons are made from September 10-12, 2021

Interestingly, the net of those who say they trust at least one of these decreased by 6% (from 64% to 58%) over the past two months, perhaps suggesting a general decrease in trust of ‘traditional’ investment instruments.

  • 28% Stocks (-5% change)
    • 28% Gen Z
    • 28% Millennials
    • 29% Gen X
    • 26% Baby Boomers
  • 24% Mutual funds (-6% change)
    • 13% Gen Z
    • 22% Millennials
    • 28% Gen X
    • 28% Baby Boomers
  • 22% Real estate (-6% change)
    • 21% Gen Z
    • 23% Millennials
    • 21% Gen X
    • 23% Baby Boomers
  • 17% Bonds (-7% change)
    • 14% Gen Z
    • 16% Millennials
    • 19% Gen X
    • 18% Baby Boomers
  • 14% Crypto (+1% change)
    • 22% Gen Z
    • 24% Millennials
    • 13% Gen X
    • 3% Baby Boomers
  • 8% Collectables (e.g. baseball cards, NFTs, comic books, sneakers) (-2% change)
    • 10% Gen Z
    • 14% Millennials
    • 7% Gen X
    • 5% Baby Boomers
  • 5% Physical art (-2% change)
    • 11% Gen Z
    • 8% Millennials
    • 5% Gen X
    • 2% Baby Boomers
  • 4% In-game video game items (-3% change)
    • 15% Gen Z
    • 7% Millennials
    • 2% Gen X
    • 1% Baby Boomers

Suppose you have an extra $2,000 to invest in the following options…which are you investing in?

*Comparisons are made from September 10-12, 2021

  • 53% Stocks (-5% change)
    • 42% As ‘long-term’ investments
    • 18% As ‘quick-buck’ investments
  • 42% Mutual funds (-5% change)
    • 32% As ‘long-term’ investments
    • 14% As ‘quick-buck’ investments
  • 29% Crypto (+7% change)
    • 21% As ‘long-term’ investments
    • 13% As ‘quick-buck’ investments
  • 15% NFTs
    • 9% As ‘long-term’ investments
    • 8% As ‘quick-buck’ investments