For the first time since June 2007, ChangeWave surveys are picking up some signs of a bottom among consumers. Although spending remains weak, the 90-day outlook is better than it was in April. Counterbalancing these positives, however, is a continued deterioration in the economic health of lower-income consumers and a huge spike in inflation worries among virtually all consumers.
Rockville, MD (
The May 6-14 survey of 4,403 consumers, which focuses on spending patterns for the next 90 days, shows
This was the third consecutive ChangeWave survey since February that has uncovered strength for Costco and Wal-Mart, highlighting a continued large-scale movement towards discount retailers that's being driven by high inflation and -- until recently -- a slower spending environment.
"The retail shopping transformation we're seeing does not appear to be a short-term phenomenon," said Tobin Smith, founder of ChangeWave and editor of ChangeWave Investing. "Rather, it has the all trappings of a consumer revolution -- and it's continuing to pick up steam."
In other positive news for the two retail giants, when consumers were asked where they expect to spend their economic stimulus tax rebate checks, Wal-Mart (12%) and Costco (12%) were the two biggest winners among the major retail outlets.
(Detailed charts on consumer spending trends, along with additional ChangeWave findings can be downloaded at
A Spending Uptick
For the first time in nearly a year, a consumer spending uptick has been picked up in a ChangeWave survey. It's only a slight one, and overall spending still looks decidedly gloomy, but the 90-day outlook is not quite as bleak as it was in ChangeWave's previous consumer spending survey in April 2008.
While two-in-five U.S. respondents (40%) still say they'll spend less over the next 90 days than they did a year ago -- that is 2-pts better than in April. Another 28% say they'll spend more -- a full 3-pts better than previously.
The survey also queried consumers on their impressions of current economic conditions, and once again while things still look bad, they don't appear quite as awful as they did in April:
--17% of respondents think the economy will improve in the next 90 days, 3-pts better than was seen in April. Even more striking, just 39% think the economy will worsen -- a big 11-pt improvement from a month ago.
--29% say the current state of the economy is better than they thought it would be 90 days ago, while 21% say it is worse than they thought it would be.
Where is spending improving? For the first time this year there is a slight uptick in consumer electronics sales, although spending in the sector is still very sluggish. There is also a 1-pt uptick in spending on consumer durable goods.
Notably, the survey found that the overall uptick in consumer spending is being driven by an improved outlook among households earning more than $100,000 per year.
The Biggest Consumer Threat -- Inflation
Although the survey found a slight uptick in consumer spending going forward, there are still powerful undercurrents that seriously threaten a U.S. recovery -- and first among them is spiraling consumer fears of inflation.
Among those who say they'll be spending less over the next 90 days, more than half (52%) cite Inflation as a reason -- a big 6-pt leap since April. Another 49% of consumers point to Higher Energy Costs -- also up 6-pts.
Other consumer concerns have increasingly taken a back seat to inflation. Perhaps most ominously, two-thirds of consumers report that due to increased energy costs their discretionary spending will be lower for the next 90 days.
Another major threat to recovery: the spending outlook for households earning Less than $50,000 per year remains extraordinarily depressed, with 61% saying they'll spend less over the next 90 days than they did a year ago -- 6-pts worse than in April.
To sign-up for real-time email alerts from ChangeWave on consumer spending trends and winning and losing retailers, visit
ChangeWave runs a proprietary network of more than 15,000 highly qualified business, technology, and medical professionals in leading companies of select industries -- credentialed experts who spend their everyday lives working on the frontline of technological change. ChangeWave surveys its members on a range of business and investment research topics, collects feedback from them electronically, and converts the information into quantitative and qualitative reports. For more information, visit
DailyCents.com announces the addition of two new bloggers. Linda Daly will be blogging about living green and being socially responsible, and Jane Dough makes her return to Daily Cents where she will once again share tips on personal finance.
Los Angeles, CA (
Linda Daly is a firm believer that any party worth its salt should benefit a charity. Otherwise what's the point? AND, if a charity does not have a party then she's going to do her best to make sure people know about the good work that's being done. She and her friends have their own charity, Vintage Hollywood that holds an annual food and wine event for charities in Southern California. When she's not out on a personal crusade to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits worldwide, she lives as "greenly" as possible in Los Angeles with her two kids, two dogs, two fish, horses, goats, sheep donkeys and chickens.
Jane Dough, the doyenne of personal finance, joins DailyCents.com as a twice-weekly blogger -- and considering the state of our economy, not a moment too soon. Jane will help explain what's happening on the financial frontier and -- more importantly -- how those events will impact us personally. Jane plans to write on headline issues like the current mortgage meltdown, $4-a-gallon gasoline and the credit crunch as well as fundamentals close to women's pocketbooks such as savings, funding educations, retirement and debt.
"The addition of Linda Daly and the return of Jane Dough to our editorial staff is another effort on our part to bring the most relevant and useful information to our readers," said Brian McMahon, President and CEO of Daily Cents. "We want to provide fun, helpful, practical information for our audience, and we are committed to building a recognized team of experts to ensure it."
DailyCents.com is a free daily e-mail service that gives women information about workplace success, balancing family and work, personal finance, health issues, and beauty.
Daily Cents' mission is to arm women with the tools and knowledge to find more fulfillment in their careers, families, and personal lives. This unique online destination is a place where women of all ages and lifestyles can learn about and discuss relevant issues -- and have a laugh.
College matching service, myUsearch.com, will award a $1000 scholarship to the student with the best ideas to improve college admissions.
Boulder, CO (
Last year's college admissions were reported to be more competitive than ever. The
"The college admissions process has this smoke and mirrors aspect to it", says Derek Kraus, founder of myUsearch. "Students have to jump through hoops and they are often left with no idea why they did or did not get in to the college of their choice. By offering this scholarship, we will give students a forum to voice their frustrations with the application process, and hopefully this will start the dialogue needed to convince schools to make the appropriate changes."
This 1000 dollar college scholarship will be open to students starting college in 2008. The scholarship is financial need based, requiring a household income of less than 100,000 dollars. To apply for this and any other open scholarships, students must complete the
About myUsearch, LLC:
myUsearch, LLC is an unbiased online resource dedicated to objectively matching students to schools and providing fair and accurate college enrollment information. The myUsearch Smart Questionnaire determines the needs of students in order to accurately match them with any of the 3,400+ colleges in the company database. The myUsearch blog offers an honest view of colleges and the college enrollment process. myUsearch offers students a completely honest and objective match by providing the names of matching colleges regardless of their willingness to pay for a listing, and allowing only the schools that match the students' criteria to contact them. For further information, please visit