NEWS16 October 2013

46% of Americans foresee financial strain due to gov't shutdown

Government North America

US — Results from a new IRI MarketPulse survey suggest that American consumers’ financial outlook is being affected by the government shutdown and looming debt ceiling crisis.

The quarterly survey, run by Information Resources Inc (IRI) and fielded in the days leading up to the shutdown and after the shutdown began, revealed that 85% of American consumers were aware of the shutdown and the debt ceiling. Figures showed that this had a knock-on effect on their anticipation of their financial future.

In particular, consumers highlighted concerns around how they expected the fiscal crisis to impact their personal finances and shopping behaviours: 46% of consumers anticipated increased financial strain, 45% plan to increase their focus on grocery prices, and 31% intend to eliminate or reduce trips to some favourite stores. These figures were all higher among the lowest-earning households.

“Consumers have been locked in a prolonged game of economic dodgeball, with one challenge after another coming right at them” said Susan Viamari, editor at IRI Times & Trends. “The government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis are just more hurdles, and the growing uncertainty really has consumers worried and hunkering down.”

At the time of publication, the BBC is reporting that the Senate has agreed a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the US debt limit, although the bill still needs to pass the House.