Consumers Are Not Rebounding after Government Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Crisis

Survey: 57 Percent Anticipate Increased Financial Strain; 43 Percent Budgeting Less for Upcoming Holiday Season

November 20, 20`13 – CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) conducted a special survey between Oct. 31-Nov. 5 and found that consumers are hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst when it comes to the possibility of another government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis in early 2014. Overall, 53 percent of consumers are not confident that an agreement will be met to avert another government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis, while 32 percent are unsure and 15 percent are confident. This skepticism is chipping away at consumer confidence, so many are already putting some safety nets in place to weather the storm and holiday spending is right in the cross hairs.

In fact, 43 percent of all consumers are budgeting less money for the upcoming holiday season out of concern that the country will hit the new debt ceiling, and the government will shut down once again. In addition, 52 percent of Hispanics, 47 percent of households with kids and 53 percent of lower-earning households will be pulling back on holiday spending.

If the country hits the new debt ceiling and the government shuts down in early 2014:

  • 57 percent of all consumers expect their financial strain to increase versus 46 percent, who anticipated increased strain before the October 2013 shutdown
  • 45 percent of all consumers say they will have less money to spend on groceries versus 35 percent before the October 2013 shutdown
  • 44 percent of all consumers say they will have to reduce/eliminate trips to some of their favorite stores versus 31 percent before the October 2013 shutdown
The impending debt ceiling crisis and government shutdown is yet one more straw on the camel’s back, and consumers are ready to react by locking down their wallets

“The impending debt ceiling crisis and government shutdown is yet one more straw on the camel’s back, and consumers are ready to react by locking down their wallets,” says Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, IRI. “CPG marketers must continue to monitor the situation carefully and be poised to rapidly deploy programs that will support consumers through the next financial obstacle, but it is critical that these programs are carefully designed to support—not erode—brand equity and justify the expenditure with a solid value proposition.”

About IRI’s MarketPulse™ Survey
IRI conducted a special omnibus survey to supplement the Q3 2013 MarketPulse survey findings. This omnibus survey was conducted between Oct. 31-Nov. 5 and had 7,000 respondents from the National Consumer Panel. IRI MarketPulse survey provides new survey results at the end of each calendar quarter covering shoppers’ behaviors and attitudes as they directly relate to their strategies for learning about, purchasing and utilizing CPG and healthcare products, as well as information regarding perceptions of economic conditions and their ability to provide for their families. For complete MarketPulse coverage, visit: http://www.iriworldwide.com/Insights/Publications/MarketPulseSurvey.aspx. For more information about customizing the research for a particular category or industry, please contact IRIMarketing@IRIworldwide.com.

About IRI
IRI is a leader in delivering powerful market and shopper information, predictive analysis and the foresight that leads to action. We go beyond the data to ignite extraordinary growth for our clients in the CPG, retail and over-the-counter healthcare industries by pinpointing what matters and illuminating how it can impact their businesses across sales and marketing. Move your business forward at iriworldwide.com.