Despite recent optimistic news from US economists about a financial recovery, a recent Harris Poll found that (pdf) Americans are still worried about the job market and remain unwilling to spend money on dining, entertainment, travel, big-ticket purchases and other discretionary items.?
The poll found that fully two-thirds of Americans (67%) plan to decrease spending on eating out at restaurants and reduce spending on entertainment (67%) in the next six months, almost the same number who said so in May (66% and 64% respectively). At the same time, half of Americans (50%)? plan to save or invest more money in the next half year, slightly down? from 53% who said so in May 2009.
In terms of general spending, just one-fourth of US adults (25%)? anticipate having more money to spend the way they want, the research revealed.? This figure remains largely unchanged from May, when Harris Interactive reported that 26% said so.
Vacations Decrease as Summer Wanes
The number of Americans planning vacations also has fallen as the summer wanes. In May, more than one-third of Americans (36%) said they would – in the next six months – be taking a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week.? Now, only 28% of Americans say it is likely they will take such a trip.
Spending in other categories has remained mostly unchanged from May. Close to one in five Americans (19%) say they will likely buy a new computer in the? next six months, compared with 21% % at the beginning of the summer.? Similarly unchanged, 7% of Americans
plan to start a new business in the next six months, compared with 8% who said so in May.
Housing Spend Still Slumps
Though news accounts also report that the housing market might be headed out of the slump, just 14% of Americans say they are likely to move to a different home,? and less than one? in ten (8%) are likely to purchase a house or condo in the next six months. In May, one in five US adults (19%) said they were likely to move in the next six months, while 9% were likely to purchase a house or
Auto Purchases Stalled
Harris Interactive reported that people are still not quite ready to spend on big-ticket items. Just one in 10 Americans (10%) plan to buy or lease a newly manufactured vehicle in the next six? months, down slightly from May, when 12% said the same.? Planned boat and RV purchases are similarly down. The poll found that? just 4% say they will make such an investment,? compared with 5% in May.
Harris Interactive said that these results prove that? economy is still a major issue of concern, and suggested that worries about the job market – which is not expected to improve anytime soon – are likely playing a role in the reluctance to spend.
“When the job market begins to turn around, people would be more secure that they will not lose their jobs or, if they already have, are closer to finding a new job,” Harris Interactive said in a news release.? “And, once they have that security they may be willing to eat out more and go to the movies more frequently.
Results from this Harris Poll appear to track with findings from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which reported that in July 2009 US consumers saw little change (pdf) to their personal income or spending levels, and decreased personal saving by 5.6%.
About the survey: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the US between September 8 – 15, 2009 among 2,334 adults
(ages 18+). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted? where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score? weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.