39% of Consumers Rate Personal Finances as Primary Concern; Dining Out and Travel Top List of Planned Cutbacks

CHICAGO, Sep 29, 2022 (GlobeNewswire) – Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has released its Monthly Consumer Sentiment Study that examines economic concerns and the impacts on consumer behavior. After reaching highs over the summer, overall economic concern appears to be cooling off, led by a decreased concern around gas prices. However, personal finances continue to be the primary concern for US consumers, as they plan spending cutbacks in dining, food delivery and travel.

Consumer Economic Concerns Findings:

  • Personal finances remain the top concern among US consumers. Nearly two in five (39%) say personal finances are their primary concern for the coming months, up from 36% who said the same in August. These levels are more than double that of the next highest-cited concern (“world events” at 17% of consumers) and more than 6x that of COVID-19 related concerns (6%).
  • The percentage of consumers highly concerned about the economy has dropped. Nearly 60% of consumers have a high level of concern regarding the economy, down 13 percentage points from its recent peak in June 2022 – driven in part by a decreased concern around gas prices.
  • Despite the drop among those “highly concerned,” nearly all consumers (98%) still indicate at least moderate economic concern. Nearly a quarter (71%) of consumers feel as though the country is currently in an economic recession, 77% think inflation will continue to increase, and 70% expect the economy to worsen in the next few months.
    • Despite declines in gas prices, higher-than-normal prices continue to take their toll on consumers. Nearly seven in 10 (69%) say gas prices are impacting their ability to afford other things.
  • All income groups express concern about rising prices. More than a quarter (76%) of consumers are worried about rising prices on essential goods and services, while 68% are worried about rising gas prices, and 62% are concerned about rising prices on non-essential goods and services (e.g. travel, restaurants).
    • Low income consumers are worried about programs being scaled back. 38% state that they worry about government benefits scaling back (i.e. Social Security, Disability payments, SNAP) – the highest concern out of any income group. Job security concerns are also highest among low income shoppers (19%).
    • Middle income consumers are the group most worried about housing. 31% are concerned about the housing market – both stability and affordability.
    • High income consumers are concerned about future savings. Over half (51%) are worried about the impact that the economy will have on retirement savings or pension plans, while 43% are concerned about stock market stability.
  • Consumers are still uncomfortable with discretionary spending. Nearly three in four consumers (74%) state that they are wary of splurging on premium or luxury items at this time. Taking money out of personal savings or retirement accounts is also uncomfortable for nearly a quarter of consumers (73%), as is spending on non-essential items (61%), investing in the stock market (58%), traveling (57%), and dining out or ordering food delivery (46%).
  • In response to rising prices, consumers know where they will cuts pending. Dining out (46% of consumers), travel (44%), electronics (42%), apparel (41%) and toys & games (32%) are the top areas where consumers plan to reduce their spend in the following months. However, nearly a quarter (23%) do not expect to cut back at all, holding steady since last month, another sign that economic worries are lessening.

Consumer Spending: Planned Cutbacks Due to Inflation

Percentage of Consumers Reporting Planned Cutbacks

Restaurants, Bars, Food Delivery 46%
Travel 44%
Electronics 42%
Apparel 41%
Toys, Games & Crafts 32%
Snacks & Candy 30%
Alcohol 29%
Home or Garden Supplies 26%
Health & Beauty 23%
Gas or Other Fuel 18%
No Expected Cutbacks 23%

Source: Numerator Survey

The Numerator Consumer Sentiment Survey is fielded on a monthly basis to 1,000+ consumers from Numerator’s purchase panel. The September 2022 survey was fielded from 9/8/2022 – 9/10/2022 to 1,034 consumers and also includes consumer sentiment regarding pandemic concerns. Income brackets are defined as High income (>$80k annually), middle income ($40k – $80k), low income (<$40k).

About Numerator:

Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research.  Numerator blends first-party data from over 1 million US households with advanced technology to provide 360-degree consumer understanding for the market research industry that has been slow to change. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has 2,000 employees worldwide; 80 of the top 100 CPG brands’ manufacturers are Numerator clients.


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