TransUnion's Q1 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:
Inflation weighs heavier on consumer confidence: High consumer confidence buffeted by inflation; 59% of respondents reported being optimistic about their household finances in the next 12 months, a drop from 64% in Q4 2021. Pessimism about the future rose slightly to 19% compared to 16% in Q4. Inflation is the number one issue for most American households with 64% reporting being extremely or very concerned about it, and 93% saying they’re at least slightly concerned. That’s a steady increase over the past two quarters — with 55% being extremely or very concerned in Q3 2021 and 60% in Q4. Middle-income households (annual income between $50,000 and $100,000) reported the largest increase in concern about inflation, rising from 58% in Q4 to 66% in Q1 2022.
New normal two years later: About two years after the global pandemic declaration, consumer behavior has changed dramatically while optimism has re-emerged. In Q1 of 2020, 57% of Americans reported being optimistic about their future. That’s close to the 59% in Q1 2022 who reported optimism about their household finances in the next 12 months. Vaccinations may help buoy confidence: Of vaccinated individuals, 61% are optimistic about their household finances in the next 12 months compared to just 49% of unvaccinated people. Significant changes in consumer digital behavior appear enduring. Of consumers who use digital products, 41% said they adopted new digital services like online banking, video calling or online grocery shopping during the pandemic. The shift online seems to represent a permanent change in behavior; 86% of new digital services users reporting their use will stay the same or increase in the future.
The top consumer concerns for 2022: Inflation, grocery availability, new COVID-19 variants, product availability and rising interest rates rank as the top five concerns for Americans in 2022. These complex and intertwined kitchen table issues may impact spending and credit decisions. Those who reported COVID-19 variants as a top three issue plan lower increases in household spending compared to those who ranked it outside their top three. Of those less concerned about COVID-19, 24% will increase large purchases compared to just 19% of those most concerned about it.