22 Sep 2009

Dollars & Sense: The Good and The Bad News

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The good news is that recent economic data is decidedly more upbeat than earlier in the year. The stock market has been on a tear, Consumer Confidence has improved, there are fewer new filings for unemployment, and even the downtrodden housing market has shown signs of life.

However, the bad news is that the mood is less upbeat in our current Market Research Online Community (MROC) called Dollars & Sense. In the Dollars & Sense Community, it’s clear that consumers continue to struggle with the recession. Dollars & Sense members have articulately written about things they don’t buy anymore, creative strategies they use to save money on things they need, and how the recession has impacted their attitudes towards spending. In the Community there is a sense that things are still not right, and that the economy is still a long way from being back to normal.

The themes found in the Dollars & Sense Community were supported by a recent article in the New York Times titled, “Reluctance to Spend May Be Legacy of Recession.” This article focuses on how consumers may be reluctant to spend as the economy improves because of less income, credit, and assets resulting from the recession. This, in turn, could impact the strength and speed of the economic recovery.

The disconnect between recent economic data and consumers’ attitudes has important implications for market researchers. It is important that researchers pay close attention to consumers’ spending attitudes and behaviors right now, because it can’t be assumed that better economic data has translated to a meaningful increase in confidence and spending. At Digital Research, Inc. we’re currently tracking this issue closely through our Dollars & Sense Community, quantitative research, and webinars to help companies navigate these strange times. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you on this issue, send me a note at christopher.kelley@digitalresearch.com.

Chris Kelley
Research Director