Will a new surge in consumer optimism improve your business’s bottom line?

Chain Store Age reports consumer sentiment is at its highest level in a year, as people anticipate the arrival of their COVID-19 stimulus checks and the increase in the number of Americans getting vaccinated.

Richard Curtin, the chief economist, Surveys of Consumers, at the University of Michigan told Chain Store Age, “The gains were widespread across all socioeconomic subgroups and all regions, although the largest monthly gains were concentrated among households in the bottom third of the income distribution as well as those aged 55 or older.”

However, consumers weren’t any happier about their own financial situation earlier this month, “largely due to very small, expected gains in household incomes during the next year.” They felt much more optimistic about the future of the national economy.

The survey showed consumers were interested in buying large household durables but weren’t in the market for buying automotive vehicles or homes. (They were concerned about rising interest rates for mortgages and car loans.

Curtin says, “Overall, the data indicate strong growth in consumer spending during the year ahead, with the largest percentage gains for services, including travel and restaurants.”

Chain Store Age also reports on a consumer sentiment survey that found 60% of consumers plan to stay home or limit contact with others this Easter due to COVID-19 concerns. The survey, from Numerator, reveals 90% of consumers plan to buy candy, a slight decrease from previous years.

Easter is about 10 days away, so consumer shopping plans are likely already set. Most Easter shoppers will spend their money at grocery stores (54%), which makes sense since 51% plan to purchase food as Easter presents.

In prior years 75% of consumers bought toys for Easter gifts, but only 64% plan to do so this year. Perhaps as an indicator that we’re a stressed-out country, the survey shows sales of spa products will likely rise 5%.

Consumer optimism stock photo by keren-seg/Shutterstock