U.S. consumer confidence increased four index points in the second quarter of 2014 to a score of 104. This marks an upward trend that began in the first quarter of 2013. While confidence has climbed 11 points since then, spending levels at retail are still below where they were before the 2008 recession.
“In the U.S., positive news for the job, housing and equity markets appears to have buoyed the spirits of Americans,” said James Russo, senior vice president, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen. “The retail environment for non-durable goods, however, is still catching up. Retail dollar sales of fast-moving consumer goods are up 1.3% in latest six months ending June. Consumers are moving ahead slowly, and marketers need to adjust to a new consumer mindset of restraint, which will take time to reverse.”
Americans are thinking positively, however. Nearly half of Americans (49%) believed now is a good/excellent time to spend. This is the highest level reported since 2006 and up 6% from the first quarter of 2014.
Optimism about job prospects and personal finances rose in the second quarter as well. While the outlook for jobs (46%) was still below pre-recession levels (63%), the sentiment represents a significant improvement from 2009, when it was at 20%. Almost two-thirds of U.S. respondents (64%) said their personal finances were in good order, marking a rise of 5% from the first quarter.