According to Prosper Insight & Analytics, consumer sentiment climbed month over month based on a study completed earlier in March. After a slight dip in February, consumer sentiment gained, with 50.5% of survey respondents saying they were confident or very confident of good economic prospects.
The March sentiment figure was the highest recorded by Prosper since February, 2007. The confidence number was up significantly versus March 2014, when it stood at 40.7%.
About 45.2% of consumers surveyed in March said they focused purchasing on what they need rather than what they want, down a point from March a year ago, and just about flat, if slightly down, compared with last month. The figure for consumers who are expressing a preference for practical purchases continues to track down, hitting 38.3% in March, which is down half a point compared with February and falls from 42.7% a year ago.
A significant proportion of consumers continue to be concerned with paying down debt and savings, with 39.1% and 46.9%, respectively, planning to devote their tax returns to those ends, up slightly from year ago. At the same time, interest in spending tax refunds on major purchases was flat to slightly down versus March 2013, and interest in spending them on vacations up only 20 basis points to 13%.