Treasury

After a gloomy autumn, US consumers feel more financially secure

Inflation fears have fallen since October.
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Consumers are feeling quite a bit more positive toward the economy than they were as recently as October 2023, according to Deloitte’s monthly ConsumerSignals survey.

Deloitte’s overarching financial well-being index was 99 for US consumers in January, up from 90.1 in October. Compared with last year, though, things look about the same: The index was 99.8 in January 2023. The index is based on respondents’ answers to questions meant to gauge their financial well-being, such as whether they had money left over at the end of the month or were concerned about credit card debt.

Consumers’ inflation fears remain high, but are easing, the survey found. 73% of US consumers said they were worried about price increases on everyday products, versus 80% who said so in October 2023 and 78% who said so this time last year. Only 58% said they expected gas prices to go up, versus 71% who said so in January 2023. (Compare that with June 2022, when 87% anticipated higher gas prices.) Likewise, 64% said they saw grocery prices rising next month, versus 70% in February 2023.

Deloitte’s “food frugality index,” which tracks behaviors such as buying store brands and lower-cost meats and wasting less food at home, was also down, hitting 100.9 in January after reaching 109.1, its highest level since September 2022. But food frugality is still slightly higher than it was in January 2023, when it reached 98.2.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.