Retail

Consumer Confidence Dips In December

Consumer confidence declined during the month of December, coming off historic highs in November, CNBC reported Wednesday (Dec. 27).

Citing nonprofit research company The Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence, confidence declined to a score of 122.1 in December — below the 128.1 expected by economists surveyed by Reuters. The index hit 129.5 in November, reaching its highest mark since November of 2000 when it stood at 132.6.

“The decline in confidence was fueled by a somewhat less optimistic outlook for business and job prospects in the coming months,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Despite the decline in confidence, consumers’ expectations remain at historically strong levels, suggesting economic growth will continue well into 2018.”

The survey results come as retailers enjoyed a strong holiday shopping season this year. According to Mastercard’s SpendingPulse report for holiday 2017, holiday sales were up 4.9 percent — the biggest year-on-year uptick since 2011 — and consumers set new records for the number of dollars spent. Online shopping had a strong year, too, reporting 18.1 percent growth since holiday 2016 — though much of that figure was driven by a late-season customer shipping rally as consumers got their second shopping wind.

Mastercard’s Sarah Quinlan told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster the reality is that online will probably only clock in at 10 or 11 percent of total shopping, with the rest defaulting to the physical store.

“In terms of sheer, overall spend, we still love the store,” Quinlan said.

Meanwhile, Amazon announced that the 2017 holiday season was its “biggest” ever. According to news from CNBC, Amazon said on Tuesday (Dec. 26) that customers shopped on its website at “record levels” throughout November and December. Over the course of one week, more than 4 million people became Prime members or started a free trial, sending its membership count to new highs. The company also said shopping on its mobile app increased nearly 70 percent this holiday season, with millions of tech gadgets ordered through it.

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