Americans' Economic Outlook on the Rise
By Michelle Peluso, Global Consumer Chief Marketing and Internet Officer, Citi August 23, 2012 05:00 PM
A nationwide survey issued today by Citi and conducted by Hart Research Associates revealed that Americans are more optimistic about economic conditions than in any quarter since the survey began in September 2009. The Citi Economic Pulse, a quarterly measure of Americans' attitudes toward the economy, remains in negative territory but rose to a new high of -4 in Q3 2012 after hitting its lowest point of -17 in Q3 2011. Unlike 2010 and 2011, when the Citi Economic Pulse advanced in the first quarter only to turn downward again later in the year, attitudes have continued to improve in 2012.
In general, the third quarter Citi Economic Pulse finds less of an increase in positive views of the economy, but rather a notable decrease in negative views. For example, 75 percent of consumers rate employment opportunities in their area as only fair or poor, which is 10 points lower than a year ago (85 percent). In the same vein, 19 percent say local employment opportunities are excellent or good, which is six points higher than a year ago.
Over the past four years following the economic downturn, Americans have dramatically altered the way they save and spend, but within the past few months there are signs of another change as consumers say they are getting better control of their finances and fewer report making sacrifices because of the economy. When given a list of possible changes to their saving and spending habits, more than three quarters (76 percent) of Americans report that they are getting better control of their finances or putting themselves on a budget. And fewer people say they are cutting down on credit card purchases, eating out less often, working longer hours to make ends meet, or doing jobs they would not choose in a better economy.
The survey also revealed that while younger Americans are more likely to use online or mobile banking, older Americans are clearly embracing mobile and online banking as well. Sixty-seven percent of 35- to 49-year-olds, 53 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and almost half (48 percent) of 65-year-olds and over who own a mobile device are already currently using their mobile devices to manage their finances.
While only one in 10 (11 percent) of mobile device owners currently use "tap and go" payment technology, nearly half (48 percent) are interested in adopting the application in lieu of cash or credit cards. In addition, 41 percent are interested in mobile-to-mobile payments and 45 percent are interested in mobile check deposit.