Survey: American Consumer Back and Ready to Spend


The Great Recession of 2007 caused the once-prolific American shopper to go into a prolonged scrimp mode.  Now, some seven years later – and more than five years after the recession officially ended - the tide has turned, according to a new Consumer Reports study. A nationally representative survey of 1,006 adult Americans conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center revealed that people are now in the market for major purchases like homes, cars, and appliances – and that they plan to spend even more money in the coming year.

The full report, "How America Shops Now," is the cover story for the November 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine and is available on newsstands now and at

So traumatizing was the Great Recession that many Americans put off purchases and personal decisions such as marriage and divorce. Seven out of 10 people told Consumer Reports that they finally feel fiscally stable enough to make up for lost time. Other findings from the survey that point to shoppers' improved outlook:

  • 64 percent said that they'd dropped big bucks on a major purchase in the past year
  • 46 percent said they bought a new or used vehicle in the past year or intend to buy one in the coming year
  • 12 percent said they'd bought a residence in the past year or intend to do so in the coming year
  • 34 percent said they recently completed or are ready to do a major home-remodeling project
  • 31 percent are holding fewer garage sales
  • 30 percent are taking fewer odd jobs
  • 26 percent of young Americans (aged 18-34) said they were ready to buy a new home; 32 percent believe they can buy a car

"Shoppers may be back, but they're far from the profligate spenders they used to be. The harsh lessons of the prolonged downturn have had a major impact, perhaps a permanent one," says Tod Marks, senior projects editor for Consumer Reports.  "Our survey shows that Americans are spending their money very pragmatically, and even though the employment picture has improved, many are working scared – scared about their future job stability and earnings outlook."

Source: Consumer Reports