April 03, 2013

March 2013 Discover® U.S. Spending Monitorsm Results

Economic Confidence and Personal Finance Outlook Decline Slightly in March

Riverwoods, IL, April 3, 2013- The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor was flat in March, dropping just one half point to 93.3, as consumer confidence in the economy and personal finances slightly declined. The decline in economic and financial confidence was largely driven by consumers ages 18 to 39 and those making under $75,000. However, plans to increase spending on major and discretionary purchases grew. The Monitor is a 5-year-old daily poll tracking economic confidence and spending intentions of nearly 8,200 consumers throughout the month.

Economic Outlook

  • The number of respondents rating the economy as good or excellent declined 1 percentage point to 18 percent in March. Consumers rating the economy as fair increased 2 points to 34 percent.
  • Respondents ages 18 to 39 rating the economy as excellent or good in March dropped 5 points to 17 percent. In February, the same age group had the largest increase in rating the economy as excellent or good (a 9-percentage point jump to 22 percent).
    • Respondents ages 40 to 64 rating the economy as excellent or good in March increased 1 percentage point to 17 percent, and those 65 and older also rose 1 point to 19 percent.
  • Respondents ages 18 to 39 also had the biggest change in expectations of the economy. The number of respondents expecting the economy to worsen increased 7 points to 53 percent in March.
    • Respondents ages 40 to 64 expecting the economy to worsen fell 1 point to 48 percent, and those 65 and older expecting the economy to deteriorate increased 1 point to 44 percent.
  • Overall, respondents who expect the U.S. economy to worsen increased 2 points to 50 percent.
    • Those who expect the economy to improve decreased 2 points, to 30 percent.
    • Consumers expecting the economy to stay the same declined 1 point to 16 percent.

Personal Finances

  • Consistent with the decline in economic confidence, consumer outlook on personal finances also slid in March.
    • The number of consumers rating their finances as excellent or good decreased 2 percentage points to 35 percent.
    • Those who said their finances are improving also decreased, by 1 point to 24 percent. Those expecting finances to remain the same increased 2 points to 28 percent.
  • Consumers making more than $75,000 showed a significantly brighter outlook about their personal finances than those making less.
    • There was an 11-point increase to 45 percent in the number of consumers making more than $75,000 who felt their finances were improving.
    • There was a 3-point decrease among middle-income consumers ($40,000-$75,000) who felt their finances were improving, to 28 percent, and a 1-point decrease among consumers in the lowest income bracket (less than $40,000) who felt their finances were getting better, to 17 percent.

Spending Intentions

  • In March, the number of respondents who said they are spending more this month than they did last month increased 2 percentage points to 39 percent. However, the number who plan to spend less next month also increased by 2 points, to 20 percent.
  • Despite overall intentions to spend less next month, discretionary spending intentions increased in March.
    • Those planning to spend more on major personal purchases increased 2 points to 13 percent.
    • Consumers planning to spend more on household improvements next month increased 3 percentage points to 17 percent.
    • Those planning to spend more on discretionary personal expenses increased 3 points to 11 percent.
    • Intentions to spend more on saving and investing increased 2 points to 11 percent.

About Discover U.S. Spending Monitor

The Discover U.S. Spending MonitorSMis 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, checking and 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