It’s been a so-so year for American consumers as 2013 winds down. While consumers are less pessimistic in November about their economic prospects, the impact of October’s partial government shutdown, the lack of any meaningful accomplishments by the Congress, and the embarrassing mislaunch of the ObamaCare website all contributed to a ho-hum reaction from consumers.
Bloomberg’s Christopher Wellisz () reports that the gap between positive and negative expectations for the economy shrank to minus 14 from a two-year low of minus 31 in October, according to data from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. That's positive news.
Thomas Hinton of the American Consumer Council, a non-profit consumer education organization, stated, “We are basically back to square one in terms of consumer sentiment prior to the government shutdown.” Hinton added, “It’s not surprising that consumers have low expectations for government to accomplish anything significant this year. This will not bode well for incumbents in 2014 if the lack of progress continues.”
On a positive note, the American Consumer Council expects 2013 consumer holiday spending to be near last year’s spending levels as a result of improved economic conditions, pent-up demand for necessary consumer items and an aggressive retail campaign to lure shoppers into stores before Thanksgiving. ACC also expects online holiday spending to jump by 7% over 2012 according member responses.
The American Consumer Council is a non-profit consumer education organization with over 142,000 members and 44 state consumer councils. For information, visit: www.americanconsumercouncil.org