Foodservice Equipment Reports

Consumers Remain Cautious About Spending, NRA Study Finds

Despite an improving jobs picture, falling gasoline prices and rising consumer confidence, consumers remain cautious about spending, a new study from the National Restaurant Association reveals. The research found that nearly six of 10 consumers still describe their household finances as either fair or poor, a figure essentially unchanged since 2010. Further, the study showed a solid majority of consumers are still very cautious about spending. When asked to describe their personal spending behavior right now, seven out of 10 say they are holding back spending “significantly” or “somewhat.”

“While it’s not surprising to see that consumers remain uncertain about the economy and cautious in their spending habits,” said Bruce Grindy, NRA’s chief economist and author of the report, “the magnitude of the impact and the fact that it cuts across all demographic groups demonstrate the degree to which the Great Recession impacted the psyche of the American consumer. Even a majority of individuals in households with annual income above $100,000 report they are holding back on spending in some fashion.”

But there is also some hope in the report. A third of respondents think their household financial situation will improve next year, while only 8% expect their finances will be worse.

“Given the positive underlying economic fundamentals as well as elevated levels of pent-up demand among consumers, the stage is set for an improving business environment for restaurants in 2015,” Grindy said.

Information on NRA research can be found at restaurant.org.