February 06, 2013

January 2013 Discover® U.S. Spending Monitorsm Results

Economic Confidence Holds Steady; Household Expenses and Home Improvement Spending Intentions Rise in January

Riverwoods, IL, Feb. 6, 2013- The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor held steady in January dropping only one-third of a point from 91.1 to 90.8. Economic confidence among consumers remained relatively flat month-to-month, while more consumers are planning to increase their spending on household expenses like gas and groceries and home improvement purchases.

Economic Outlook

  • The percentage of consumers who expect the U.S. economy to improve declined by 1 percentage point, to 31 percent in January.
  • The number of respondents rating the economy as good or excellent remained at 15 percent.
  • The percentage of consumers rating the economy as poor dropped 2 points to 47 percent and the number of consumers thinking the economy is getting worse declined 1 point to 49 percent.
  • Female respondents reported higher confidence about the current state of the economy than their male counterparts.
    • There was a 3-point drop to 47 percent in the number of female consumers rating the economy as poor, while the number of males saying the economy is poor remained the same at 48 percent.

Personal Finances

  • Consumer outlook on personal finances remained mostly the same overall from December to January.
    • The number of consumers rating their personal finances as good or excellent ticked up 1 point to 35 percent.
    • Those consumers rating their finances as poor remained at 24 percent.
  • The number of respondents overall, who expect their personal finances to get better, stayed the same at 23 percent and those who believe their personal finances are getting worse also stayed the same at 48 percent. However, those consumers making over $75,000 showed a significantly more pessimistic outlook about their personal finances than those consumers making $40,000-$75,000.
    • There was a 4-point decline to 35 percent in the number of consumers making over $75,000 who felt their finances were getting better. There was a 4-point increase to 39 percent among consumers in this same income group who believe their personal finances are getting worse.
    • There was a 5-point increase among middle-income consumers ($40,000-$75,000) who felt their finances were getting better, and a 6-point decrease among this same income group who felt their finances were getting worse.

Spending Intentions

  • Overall spending intentions declined slightly from December to January reflecting a typical post-holiday pattern the Monitor has shown in its 5-year existence. Twenty-three percent said they were spending less in January than they were in December, a 5-point increase from December.
    • However, 42 percent said they planned on spending more on household expenses like gas or groceries, 3 points higher than December and 5 points higher than a year ago.
  • When asked if they will spend more, less or the same next month on other discretionary purchases:
    • 49 percent intend to spend less on going out to the movies, restaurants or a major sporting event, 1 point higher than December.
    • 15 percent plan to spend more on home improvement purchases, 2 points higher than December.
    • 10 percent plan to save and invest more, also 2 points higher than December.

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 (

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

Source: Discover Financial Services
Matthew Towson, 224-405-5649