The vast majority of Americans (90 percent) recognize the importance that access to credit plays throughout their life, according to the new Chase Slate Credit Survey. However, when it comes to awareness of their personal credit health there are gaps. Nearly four-in-ten Americans (39 percent) admit they do not know their current credit score, and more than half (52 percent) do not know that paying bills on time is the factor that has the largest impact on their credit score.
Seattle area small business owners believe that the Seattle economy is stronger than the national economy, according to the 2013 Chase-Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Pulse of the Small Business Survey. With this, 83% of Seattle area small business owners feel that their local economy is stronger than the national economy compared to 55 percent nationwide while 56% of Seattle area small business owners believe the national economy is getting better, compared to 34% nationwide. Additionally, 34% expect their businesses’ revenue to increase by more than 10 percent while 52% reported an increase in revenue over the past 12 months, compared to 44 percent nationwide, fueling Seattle area small business owners’ positive economic outlook. The survey results were released today by Chase at a Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce event. Also, 42% of Seattle area small business owners believe that their local economy has had a positive impact on the growth of their business, which is 22 percentage points higher than those nationwide. Over the past year, Seattle area small business owners have increased contracts and their customer base (34 percent), expanded products and services offered (33 percent) and hired more employees (22 percent) – all signs of a strong local economy.
With the holiday shopping season nearing a close, 84% have yet to finish. This coincides with findings 26% of those who started their shopping are spending more this year compared to last, 45% of whom blame expanded gift lists; 35% are buying more expensive items; while 33% are making purchases for themselves while shopping for others; and 43% are planning to make a purchase the day after Christmas to save a buck. These findings, according to the American Express “Spending & Saving Tracker,” also indicated holiday shoppers will be most generous with their children, planning to spend $341 on average; $189 on their spouse/significant other; $72 on average on Mom versus $45 on Dad; and 31% will spend an average of $18 on their pet. This is in conjunction with projections for a 2.3% increase in holiday retail sales this season, according to the CardFlash Library, with 40% of consumers projected to spend less while 10% intended to not buy gifts at all. Moreover, 90% planned to use cash this holiday season, up from 85% in the year ago period and more than double the 41% planning to use a credit card while 76% are planning to stick to budget, compared to the 56% last year. U.S. consumers were planning to spend an average of $688.87, compared with the $681.83 last season, and are spending 2.1% more than last year on gifts. Additional “Spending & Saving Tracker Data show 30% will make most of their purchases online; 64% will do most of their shopping in stores; and 63% will do some of their shopping at small business retailers(CardFlash News Library (2010/11/01).
WHO GETS WHAT
Other 1/2 $189
This holiday, Americans will spend an average of $710, $1,384 for those who earn $100,000 annually. Women will particularly power the holiday shopping season with 100% of those surveyed planning to hit the stores while 12% of men have no holiday shopping plans. Both male and female consumers’ intentions to “give back” continues to make a comeback from 63% in the year ago period to 67%. With 51% planning to finish holiday shopping one week before Christmas, 5% will shop on Christmas Eve; 53% plan to give gift cards; 50% will gift clothing; 43% will gift toys; and 20% will spend the most on electronics and gadgets with an average ticket price of $316. This, according to the latest American Express “Spending & Saving Tracker,” also indicates 80% of those earning more than $100,000 annually plan to make a charitable contribution; 41% will donate money to an organization, compared to 36% in 2009; 31% will purchase gift or grocery items for the needy, for no change from the year prior; and 22% will volunteer, compared to 18% in 2009.
With 60% of Californians having forever changed the way they spend and save in the wake of the economic downturn, 74% have disclosed they feel in better control of their finances and more responsible in their borrowing and saving. Adjustments to their spending and saving include the 63% cutting down on credit card purchases; 55% reducing the amount of money they owe; and 54% postponing a major purchase. This, according to the latest Citi “California Pulse,” also found among the Californians cutting back, 71% cut back on going to restaurants; 69% on clothes shopping; 64% on travel; 62% on buying brand name items; 60% on going to the movies; 59% on spending for special days; and 58% on home improvements. Also, 91% say the economy in California is only fair or poor; 87% rate job opportunities in California as only fair or poor; 62% say their efforts to take a more active role in managing their finances is permanent; 58% of those aged 35-54 are somewhat or very concerned about their current level of savings for retirement; and 42% are in the same personal financial situation as a year ago.
Among consumers with children in preschool through high school, 39% expect to spend more per child on back to school shopping while 41% expect to spend the same this year. With this, the average family of four will spend $550; 39% plan to spend more on back to school shopping this year than in 2009; 63% will have a set budget and virtually all parents; and 94% will look for ways to be resourceful. These findings, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, also show 34% intend to buy electronics, the most common being laptops(18%) with an average ticket price of $530.
ITEM ON LIST AVG EXPENSE
Clothing 88% $240
Shoes 86% $100
Supplies 85% $90
Over the past 6 months, 75% of Americans have not increased debt while 38% say their debt has actually decreased. Positive long and short-term consumer spending intentions show 26% say summer weather encourages more spontaneous spending, even though 46% have been focused on paying down debt compared to the only 29% focused on saving this year. However, 57% of consumers with debt have implemented a plan to reduce or stabilize their debt. This, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, also shows 52% of affluents; 46% of young professionals and 38% of the general population decreased their debt over the last six months. Among those encouraged to spend more spontaneously, 43% are young professionals; 26% are among the general population and 25% are affluents, 63% of which spend on summer outings, 53% on more dinners out and 44% on summer shopping. Moreover, 64% expect to spend more (16%) or the same (49%) over the next six months compared to the past six months. Those who expect to spend less (34%) in the next six months compared to the past six say they will do so primarily to save money (50%), maintain a budget (44%), and reduce debt (33%) rather than as a result of reduced income (29%) or anxiety about a potential job loss (8%).
NEEDS V WANTS
Groceries 83% V Dining out 59%
Grooming 47% V Entertainment 59%
Clothing 35% V Electronics 49%
Home 35% V Travel 42%
Tuition 27% V Accessories 41%%
SOURCE: American Express
Among Americans, 77% report the economic recession has significantly changed their outlook on life; 58% of reevaluated their approach on life; and 52% have become less hopeful about the future since the recession began. Additionally, 49% realized they would probably fall short of their personal or professional goals; 42% have become more easily angry or emotional since the recession began; 41% have become more depressed; and 33% raise their voice more frequently since the recession began. This, according to a recent survey conducted by StrategyOne, also shows 15% sought out assistance for mental health problems since the recession began; 19% started drinking or smoking more and 6% started using illegal drugs or used them more often. Moreover, 27% of women 18-34 years old will delay having a baby or child; 21% of Americans 55 years or older will postpone retirement; 18% of single Americans to postpone getting married or engaged; and 9% of married Americans to put off getting a divorce.
Amongst American couples, 30% say finances cause the most stress in their relationship, 11% say intimacy, 9% say their children while 4% say their in-laws. Additionally, 91% of Americans find reasons to avoid money talks with their partner; 43% of the general population talked money before marriage, while 57% of affluent couples and 81% of young professionals did so; and 12% of the general population have never talked about money with their spouse. This, according to the latest American Express “Spending & Saving Tracker” survey, also shows 66% of couples share all monthly expenses; 34% divide their bills each month; 48% of young professionals separate monthly expenses, as do 37% of affluents and 34% of the general population. Additionally, 43% of young professionals keep some or all of their debt separate from their spouse or significant other, compared with 20% of the general population and 22% of affluents; 55% of the general population and 63% of affluent couples carry an equal amount of debt, while only 39% of young professionals do so.
EST FINANCIAL GOALS: 17%
Despite the economic downturn, 51% of Americans are planning a vacation this summer, of which 73% of affluents and 83% of young professionals are planning a getaway. The average vacationer plans to spend an average of $1,000 per person on summer travel-$4,000 for the average family of four, $4,800 among young professionals and nearly $6,400 among affluents. This, according to the latest American Express “Spending & Saving Tracker”- a sample of 2,000 adults- also shows while family trips will be most popular (52%), other vacation types include couples trips (26%); Trips with friends such as âgirlfriend getawaysâ and âmancationsâ (10%); âstaycationsâ (11%); Experiential or adventure vacations (7%); Educational vacations (4%); (89%) will stay within the U.S., with destinations in the South (31%) and Northeast (29%) being the most frequented. A significantly smaller percentage of consumers (16%) plan to travel outside of the U.S., primarily to the Caribbean (6%), Canada (5%), and Europe (4%). Affluents (19%) are more likely to venture outside of the U.S. and young professionals (29%) are twice as likely as the general population to do so. Among the general population, affluent, and young professionals, 80% have a strategy to reduce the cost of their summer vacations.
SAVING STRATEGY GEN/AFF/YOUNG
Driving, not flying 33% 28% 33%
shorter stay 30% 24% 31%
spending less 27% 25% 31%
bargain-hunting 24% 31% 42%
Using point/reward 20% 26% 21%
Off Season Travel 13% 11% 22%
Downgrading 12% 7% 17%
Regarding their current employment, 71% of Americans consider job situation âjust as stableâ as or âmore stableâ than last year while 16% feel their job is more stable and 24% consider their job âless stableâ compared to last year. Thirty-four percent of young professionals said they feel âmore stableâ in their current jobs compared to last year, more than double the 16% of the general population and the 14% of affluents. These findings, according to the American Express “Spending & Saving Tracker” survey, also show 50% of young professionals feel âjust as stableâ in their current jobs, compared to the 54% of the general population and 60% of affluents. Also, 60% of consumers who feel their jobs are more stable have increased their overall spending and investments, 35% in dining, 31% in travel, 14% in the stock market and 10% in real estate; and consumers who feel either their current jobs are less stable or just as stable are less inclined to increase their overall spending and investments with, 16 percent and 32 percent respectively doing so. To obtain greater job security, more than 54% of the general population would make one or more concessions, which included;
Working longer (25%)
Shifting companies (18%)
Taking on more (14%)
The 66% of all consumers yet to finish their holiday shopping, 21% of whom will be shopping for gifts the week leading into Christmas and 4% of whom are actually planning to gift shop as late as Christmas Eve, aren’t necessarily lazy. Only 18% of these procrastinating consumers are actually time-strapped, however, with 31% holding out for the best deals; 19% still saving money for holiday gifts; 11% are waiting to use their last paycheck; 10% are waiting for post-holiday sales to buy presents for those on their lists this year; and 5% are holding out for an end-of-year bonus. This, according to the latest American Express “Spending & Saving Tracker” gaging what consumers plan to spend on and what motivates them to spend or save, also shows 32% expect to spend more while 33% expect to spend the same in the next 30 days when compared to the previous 30 days, 22% of whom attribute this to decreases in prices; 21% to making trade-offs with other expenses; and 20% to having finally saved enough money to afford items.
HOLIDAY PARTY SPEND