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BIGinsight: Consumers Not Content But Not Panicking

The fiscal cliff and credit ceiling may not have had as significant an impact on consumer sentiment as some of the more concerned observers believe, according to the January BIGinsight Snapshot study. At the time the study was conducted, from January 2-9, 35.3% of respondents said they felt very confident/confident in chances for a strong economy, down two points from last month, when the figure came in at 37.6%, but up from 30.4% in the similar period a year ago.

At the same time, the proportion of consumers who want to limit themselves to pragmatic spending actually came down from 30 days earlier, to 45% from 48.1%. The figure is down from a year ago, too, when it registered at 47.8%. From December to January, the proportion of consumers focused on buying just what they need remained the same at 53.7%, but that number is down almost four points from January of 2012.

As far as BIGinsight’s 90-day spending outlook is concerned, almost all tracked categories were down this month versus early December including Home Décor, Home Furniture and Linens/Bedding/Draperies. Lawn & Garden and Health & Beauty Care trended up month over month, although all other categories slipped except for Men’s Dress in apparel, which was flat month over month.