ThinkNow Research announced even though consumers experienced greater employment and steady or slightly increased income last year, they are less optimistic about the economy in 2018. The company released the results of its fifth annual ThinkNow Pulse™ Total Market Consumer Sentiment Report and found striking contrasts on consumer expectations across a representative sample of Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians and non-Hispanic whites in the U.S.
For this first time, this year’s report looks at trending data over the past three years to give brands and companies an unprecedented look at how economic sentiment across multicultural populations have changed over time.
“It’s clear there is a major divide among consumers in their economic outlook in 2018,” says Mario X. Carrasco, co-founder and principal, ThinkNow Research. “While household income stabilized or even increased, consumers are reluctant to make large purchases. To overcome this hurdle, marketers need to design thoughtful campaigns that address the real areas of concern multicultural consumers are feeling.”
Income Remains Stable Across Ethnicities
The report found that most Americans’ household income stayed the same in 2017 and slightly more consumers (41 percent) report no major shifts in income compared to 2016 (38 percent). One-third (33 percent) experienced an improvement in income compared to the previous year at almost 40 percent. Hispanics were most likely to report higher incomes in 2017 at 35 percent but this represented a decrease from 2016 at 43 percent.
Hispanics and African-Americans Experience Employment Gains
Fewer Americans experienced a job loss or reduction in work hours or salary with 56 percent of total market stating they did not experience any employment changes, compared to the previous year at 49 percent.
Hispanics (8 percent) and African-Americans (12 percent) reported the largest drop in unemployment status from 2015-17. In spite of this improvement, less than half of consumers are anticipating a better year financially in 2018 at 46 percent.
Consumers Less Optimistic about Economy
Americans appear less optimistic about the U.S. economy in 2018 and 42 percent believe it will worsen or are unsure where things are headed this year. In fact, African-Americans are the least optimistic about the economy improving in 2018 and almost one-quarter (23 percent) think it will worsen. This drastically compares to 36 percent of non-Hispanic whites that believe the economy will improve this year, down from the previous year at 47 percent.
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