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Consumer Pulse Study

TransUnion’s Q4 2022 US Consumer Pulse Study Released

We’ve just released the latest TransUnion US Consumer Pulse Study — a quarterly survey exploring how consumers’ personal finances have changed and what changes they expect in the future. Here are the key takeaways:

Consumer optimism held despite worsening household finances: In Q4 2022, just over half (52%) of Americans reported being optimistic about their household finances in the next 12 months, flat with Q3 2022 at 53%. About a quarter (26%) of Americans said they were pessimistic about their household finances in the next 12 months, with 21% being neutral. The optimistic majority contrasted with the 46% of consumers who said their household finances were worse than planned; 16 percentage points higher than in Q1 2022. Only 23% said their household finances were better than planned and 31% as planned.

Not surprisingly, optimistic Americans were in better financial shape overall; 38% of optimists said their household finances were better than planned compared to just 5% of pessimists. In addition, 71% of optimists said they anticipated increased income in the next 12 months compared to just 28% for pessimists.

Inflation causing ‘personal recession’ for consumers: While only 35% of consumers reported the US economy was currently in a recession, the majority of Americans could be experiencing a ‘personal recession’; 54% reported their incomes were not keeping up with inflation. Furthermore, the majority of all surveyed consumers said their incomes remained unchanged in the last three months.

In regards to inflation, 46% of Americans reported it as their top financial concern in the next six months, and 83% said it was in their top three. The feeling of losing ground impacted budgets and will drive spending behavior changes in the future. Of those for whom inflation was a top three concern, 71% planned to cut spending to prepare for a possible recession vs. 55% of all others.

Consumers continue to turn to credit cards: About one in four (26%) consumers reported plans to seek new credit or refinance in the next year. Of those, 53% planned to apply for a credit card — more than double all other credit types: car loan/lease (23%), personal loan (22%), mortgage (17%), new HELOC (14%), and refinance mortgage (14%). Consumers who planned to apply for credit cards were more optimistic about their finances in the next year; 66% vs. 52% overall.

To download the entire report, go here.

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