Stock market volatility may be behind a retreat in consumer confidence, according to the Consumer Snapshot study conducted early this month by Prosper Insights & Analytics. At a 44.9% rating, the figure is the lowest consumer confidence reading recorded by the market research firm in 2015.
Still, the number slightly exceeds what Prosper recorded for September 2014.
At the same time, consumers became more discretionary in their spending. Only 42.1% of consumers said they were purchasing what they need rather than what they want, Prosper noted, and only 35.9% stated that they have become more practical and realistic in their purchasing. Both figures represent 12-month lows.
Only 44.7% of consumers in the study said fuel prices had impacted their spending, also a 12-month low.
As the holiday season approaches, Prosper stated, about the same proportion of consumers plan to spend more on gift giving this year than last. However, fewer study participants said they would spend less than was the case a year ago.