Jan. 3, 2013

December 2012 U.S. Spending Monitor Results

Spending Intentions Decline Following Holiday Season

Riverwoods, IL, January 3, 2013- The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor declined 4.3 points in December to 91.1, reflecting lower spending intentions following the holiday season, as well as economic uncertainty amongst consumers.


Economic Outlook

  • The percentage of consumers who expect the U.S. economy to improve declined 3 percentage points, to 32 percent in December.
  • There was also a 3-point decline in the number of respondents rating the economy as good or excellent, to 15 percent. However, this is 6 percentage points higher than December 2011.
  • Respondents making less than $75,000 reported lower confidence in economic expectations.
    • Of those making between $40,000 to $75,000, 54 percent reported they expect the economy to get worse, 4 percentage points higher than the overall population.
    • Of those making less than $40,000, 53 percent expect the economy to get worse, or 3 percentage points higher than the overall population.
  • Consumers making more than $75,000 were more confident in the current economy, with only 40 percent rating it as poor. This is 10 percentage points lower than the overall population.

Personal Finances

  • Consumer outlook on personal finances declined from November to December 2012.
    • Consumers rating their personal finances as good or excellent declined by 2 percentage points to 34 percent.
    • Those rating their finances as poor remained at 24 percent.
  • The number of respondents who expect their personal finances to get better declined to 23 percent from 26 percent. However, the number expecting their finances to remain the same increased 3 percentage points to 27 percent.
  • More than half of consumers (52 percent) with an income between $40,000 and $75,000 expect their personal finances to get worse.
    • This is 5 percent higher than the overall population, and 6 percent higher than this segment reported in December 2011.

Spending Intentions

  • Leading up to the holidays, 42 percent of consumers said they spent more in December than the previous month, a 6 percent increase from November.
    • However, only 26 percent of people expect to spend more next month, a 13 percentage point decline.
  • When asked if they will spend more, less or the same next month, 31 percent of consumers say they will spend less, a 14-point increase from November.
    • Intent to spend less next month on household improvements increased by 2 percentage points to 51 percent.
    • Intent to spend less on major personal purchases increased by 2 percentage points to 48 percent.
    • Intent to spend less on discretionary personal expenses increased 3 percentage points to 48 percent.
    • Intent to spend the same on household expenses, such as gas and groceries, increased 2 percentage points, to 50 percent.

About Discover U.S. Spending Monitor

The Discover U.S. Spending MonitorSM is a monthly index of consumer spending intentions and capacity that is based on interviews with a random sample of 8,200 U.S. adults conducted at a rate of 275 per night. In addition to spending, the survey asks consumers their opinions on the U.S. economy and their personal finances. The Monitor began in May 2007 with a base index of 100. Surveys are conducted by Rasmussen Reports, an independent survey research firm (http://www.rasmussenreports.com).
About Discover
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company operates the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers home loans, private student loans, personal loans, online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its direct banking business. Its payment businesses consist of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discoverfinancial.com.
Source: Discover Financial Services
Matthew Towson, 224-405-5649



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