MORNING CONSULT ECONOMIC INTELLIGENCE

Consumer Confidence Grows as COVID-19 Cases Fall and Stock Markets Rise

Updated: December 1, 2020
This chart displays the ICS, a measurement of consumer sentiment. Higher numbers indicate greater confidence.

 

Welcome to Morning Consult’s U.S. consumer confidence dashboard, powered by Economic Intelligence. Every week, this page will update with the latest national data and insights from our economic team. Additionally, state-level data and findings will be updated once a month.

Morning Consult surveys around 6,000 U.S. consumers every day on their views regarding current and future personal financial conditions and business conditions in the country as a whole. The results from those survey interviews are inputted into the Morning Consult Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS), which rises as consumer confidence increases. In addition to the ICS, our overall measurement for consumer confidence, Morning Consult uses the responses to track consumer sentiment regarding just the current economic conditions (the ICC) and just expectations for future conditions (the ICE).

This is just a small sliver of the economic data we track around the globe every day. Learn more about Economic Intelligence.

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This week's results are based on around 40,000 survey interviews conducted November 25-December 1, 2020

WEEK AT A GLANCE

Morning Consult economist John Leer pulled out three key insights from the data this week:

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • U.S. consumers grew more confident in the economy during the last week of November as the number of new cases decreased and stock markets rallied. Morning Consult’s daily Index of Consumer Sentiment equaled 87.55 as of Dec. 1, up 1.31 points from seven days prior. The timing of the increase in confidence closely corresponds to the decrease in the average number of new coronavirus cases and increases in the S&P 500. However, on the whole, November was a bad month for consumer confidence. The Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased 18 out of the 30 days in November, driven down initially by consumers’ views of the election and then by the spread of the virus.  
  • The recent increases in confidence were driven by consumers in high- and middle-income households. The largest increase in consumer confidence came from adults living in households with annual incomes between $50,000-$100,000 and over $100,000. Confidence among these two groups increased by 2.59 and 2.12 points last week, respectively. These two groups of consumers are more likely to personally benefit from the recent increases in the stock market in response to positive news regarding coronavirus vaccines. Additionally, lower-income Americans are more financially vulnerable to additional negative shocks to the economy given their relative lack of savings. Consumer confidence among lower-income adults remained essentially unchanged, increasing by a moderate 0.23 points. 
  • Consumers aren’t out of the woods yet. The path of the U.S. economy over the next eight to 10 months remains highly uncertain. The spread of the virus, the risk of additional layoffs and concerns around households’ finances are all likely to weigh on consumer confidence for some time. The recent increase in confidence reflects both the decrease in the number of new cases and an increase in stock prices, and these events are not set in stone going forward.

 

 

NATIONAL TRENDS

This week, both consumers’ evaluation of current conditions and expectations for the future ticked up.

Daily U.S. Consumer Confidence Indices

Reading this data: In order to gauge consumer sentiment, Morning Consult asks five questions relating to personal finances and business conditions in the country as a whole. The results from those five questions are then inputted into these three indices: The ICS is the overall measurement based on the results of all five questions; the ICC reflects consumers’ views of their current personal financial conditions and of current buying conditions for large household goods, and the ICE measures consumers’ expectations of their future personal financial conditions and business conditions in the country as a whole.

 

 

STATE-LEVEL TRACKING

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, consumer confidence has shifted dramatically in all 50 states. However, the precise magnitude and nature of those shifts vary in important ways. This map tracks state-by-state consumer sentiment since the beginning of the year, and it will be updated once a month to reflect the latest data.

Monthly Consumer Confidence Tracking By State
Updated: December 1, 2020

Jan

STATE LEVEL TAKEAWAYS

  • Consumers in almost every state grew less confident in the economy in November as the number of new cases increased across the country. Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased in 46 of 50 states in November. Consumers in New Hampshire, Oregon, Massachusetts and Hawaii were the only ones to grow more confident in the economy in November.
  • The largest decreases in confidence occurred in states where the number of new cases dramatically increased over the course of the month. Confidence fell the sharpest in Montana, Alabama, North Dakota, Kansas and Rhode Island. The increases in new cases in Montana and North Dakota were particularly severe earlier in the month, but have started to decrease more recently. 
  • Consumer confidence has become less sensitive to the spread of the virus as the pandemic progresses. Across all 50 states, the Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased on average by 4.64% in November, significantly less than the 15.42% and 14.84% in March and April, respectively. This state-level data provides another indication that U.S. consumers have grown less sensitive to increases in the number of new cases since the onset of the pandemic, a phenomenon that is also present at the national level. This relationship between the virus and consumer confidence makes it increasingly unlikely that the Index of Consumer Sentiment in the United States will continue to fall even if the number of new cases rises again. New cases would have to dramatically pick up to drive confidence lower going forward.

"THIS IS THE FUTURE"

Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, on Morning Consult Economic Intelligence’s Global Consumer Confidence tracking

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