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Consumers Eschew Fears, Ready To Spend

Compiled By Tonya Vinas Four out of five Americans said their spending habits will return to normal within a year, with many planning vacations, home refurbishings and car purchases. Consumers told research firm Market Facts Inc., which surveyed 1,000 Americans on their attitudes toward spending, that they have concerns about the economy but are confident enough to make substantial purchases. (AmeriCredit Corp., an auto financing company in Fort Worth, Texas, commissioned the study.) According to Market Facts, those interviewed expressed less concern with the capture of Osama bin Laden (16%) than with seeing a clear end to the recession (32%) and an end to large numbers of layoffs (25%). Nonetheless, according to AmeriCredit, the "study clearly shows a new surge in consumer optimism." According to the research:

  • 43% of Americans say they are not fearful of further financial setbacks and have already resumed normal spending.
  • 81% will return to normal spending within a year.
  • Regionally, Midwesterners are most bullish, with 50% reporting back-to-normal spending habits; 42% in the south reported the same; 40% in the West; and 40% in the Northwest.
  • 23% of consumers plan a vacation within a year; 22% plan a home-improvement project; 10% plan to buy a car; 9% will buy home electronics or computers; and 5% will buy a major appliance.
"The recession and its effects are still the subject of national debate, but our survey clearly indicates that a large number of Americans feel they have weathered the storm and are intent on resuming normal consumer purchases," says Michael R. Barrington, CEO of AmeriCredit.
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