3 in 10 Consumers Cut Spending, Say It’s Their New Normal

May 17, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Youth & Gen X

Gallup-Consumer-Spending-Trends-May2013Fewer Americans are cutting their spending when compared to prior years, but most of those who are say that this is their “new normal,” according to survey results from Gallup. Overall, 73% of Americans polled in early April said they have been spending either less (41%) or the same (32%) amount of money in recent months than they used to. While the 41% spending less is down from a high of 57% in February 2010, about three-quarters of those believe that this decreased spending will become a new normal pattern, rather than representing a temporary change in their spending patterns.

Back in February 2010, when tightened spending was at its peak, one-third of those who were spending less said that it was just temporary. That suggests that over time, Americans who are spending less are settling into a new spending reality.

By contrast, among those 26% who are spending more, the majority say it’s just temporary, which the researchers suggest is an indication that increased spending is due more to larger expenses rather than greater earnings. Overall, 16% of respondents say they’re spending more, but that’s it a temporary increase, while 10% are spending more and expect that to be their new pattern.

Interestingly, despite recent accounts that Millennials are struggling financially, the Gallup poll finds that 18-29-year-olds are the most likely age group to say they’re spending more, with 33% saying that’s the case. For comparison’s sake, only 24% of respondents aged 65 and older agree. The researchers attribute youth’s higher likelihood of incresaed spending to “young adults find[ing] themselves acquiring a new financial stature at this period of their lives; many do not have children or mortgages and thus have more disposable income, and their spending habits reflect this heightened purchasing power.”

About the Data: Results for the Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 4-14, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 2,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

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