“Our Consumer Expectation Index shows consumer confidence was at its highest point for the first half of 2012 versus the previous four years. The figures are pointing to increased optimism as we head into the 2012 holiday season,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research, Experian Marketing Services.
The CEI figures for the first half of 2012 show confidence among consumers planning to buy a new home within the year at its highest level since the onset of the recession. During the first half of 2012, the average CEI figure was 100.4, which is above the index’s average for the first six months for each year dating back to 2008. The 2012 figure measured 2.5 points above the first half of 2011. On a related topic, the CEI of those intending to refinance over the next 12 months was 4.3 index points above the first half of 2011, or 5 percent higher.
The same trend held true for consumers looking to buy or lease a new automobile, as the first half of 2012 showed the average CEI figure was 98.2, which is above the index’s average of the first six months for each year dating back to 2008. The 2012 figure measured 4 index points above the first half of 2011
The CEI is based on weekly results from the trusted Experian Simmons National Consumer Study, for which 25,000 adults are surveyed annually. The survey results cover nearly 60,000 data elements, including in-depth demographics, consumer behavior and brand preferences, and more than 600 psychographics, attitudes and lifestyle measures.
As we head into the 2012 holiday season, the latest CEI figures indicate the potential for a strong seasonal performance for retailers. The CEI figure for the week of Sept. 3, 2012, (the most recent single week for which data is available) was 7.4 points higher than it was at the same point last year and higher than it has been heading into the holiday season since 2008.
Key consumer groups are even more optimistic. On Sept. 3, the CEI of those adults who made an online purchase in the past year was 2 percent higher than the national average and 8.1 points higher than the CEI recorded for online shoppers at this time during 2011. This holiday season also could be very good for brands and retailers with big-ticket items to sell, since the CEI among adults planning to make a big-ticket purchase hit 117.9 the week of Sept. 3, 2012, compared with 103.5 the same week in 2011 and 100.5 in 2010. In fact, a CEI above 100 indicates that consumers are more confident than they were during the base line period, which was the first half of 2004, years before the recession began.
The Experian Marketing Services Consumer Expectation Index (CEI) is based on weekly results from the Experian Simmons DataStream product and the Simmons National Consumer Study, for which 25,000 adults are surveyed annually. The survey results cover more than 60,000 data variables analyzed across in-depth demographics; consumer behavior; and more than 600 psychographics, lifestyles and attitudes among more than 8,000 brands and products. The benchmark for the index is a value of 100 based on consumer sentiment between Jan. 7 and May 7, 2004. The value of the index increases or decreases over time, corresponding to a more positive or less positive consumer outlook. The Simmons National Consumer Study is a patented, multiframe sample accredited by the Media Rating Council.