FINANCIAL OUTLOOK TRACKER

Understand consumer sentiment in an inflationary environment.

Numerator’s Financial Outlook Tracker provides weekly insight into consumer sentiment surrounding their financial health & spending. It’s informed by an ongoing survey of roughly 10,000 active shoppers each month, asking them to rate their current financial situation and share what they’re most likely to do with any spare cash. Additional breakouts to view results by urbanicity, ethnicity, generation and income level are provided.

Latest Update: 5/23/22

How do consumers feel about their finances?

Early May financial sentiment shows a continued downturn from 2021 highs. Consumers rating their financial situation as “good” or “very good” is at a low of 49.9%– down from 52.3% in early April. Those feeling “poor” or “very poor” about their finances has risen from 11.6% to 14.5% in the same timeframe.

  • Urbanicity: In summer 2021, suburban households had a significantly more positive sentiment towards financial situations as “good” or “very good” compared to urban households. More recently, the difference has grown smaller with suburban households dropping by 9 points and rural households staying steady. 
  • Generation: Gen Z is feeling the most significant financial squeeze compared to other generations. Only 40% of Gen Z’ers rate their current financial situation as “good” or “very good,” 10 points lower than Millennials & Gen X, and 12 points lower than Boomers+.
  • Ethnicity: White consumers feel the most confident in their finances, and are the only racial group with more than half consistently rating their financial situation as good or very good. Black/African American consumers saw a significant increase in financial confidence in early May, but this has since dropped.
  • Income Level: Low income consumers (those making under $40k annually) rate their finances lowest; fewer than 1 in 3 consider their current situation “good” or “very good,” half that of high income consumers.  

What would consumers do with extra cash?

The most significant trend seen is those saying they “don’t currently have any spare cash,” which saw a steady increase throughout 2021 and has since held steady. For those who do have cash to spare, putting it into savings or paying down debts are the most popular options. Intent to spend on traveling & home improvement projects has also increased in recent months after a winter decline.

  • Urbanicity: Suburban and Rural households are more likely to pay down debts should they have spare cash, while Urban households are more likely to invest.
  • Generation: Millennial & Gen Z consumers are more likely to say they’ll invest spare money, though Gen Z'ers are least likely to have spare cash to begin with. 
  • Ethnicity: Black & Asian consumers are the most likely to say they’ll invest their spare cash, while White consumers are most likely to use it for home repairs.
  • Income Level: High income consumers are the most likely to have spare cash, and as such, have the highest likelihood of nearly all activities / actions. However, middle income consumers are slightly more likely to put spare cash towards paying down debts, on average.
     
 
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