Each month, Bespoke Market Intelligence publishes a comprehensive review of the US consumer called Bespoke Consumer Pulse. In the June report, we saw a number of negative indicators after a very strong run for the consumer over the past 18 months or so. You can access the whole report by signing up for a free 30-day trial. Pulse surveys ~1500 US consumers on a monthly basis, providing tracking for consumer activity, confidence, and their relationship with businesses.
One indicator we like to keep track of is consumers’ assessment of their financial condition relative to what they perceive as the “average” person. As shown in the chart below, after surging from mid-2015 to mid-2017, the indicator has persistently softened over the past year or so. That’s a sign that consumers may be feeling less confident in their financial situations and falling behind their peers.
Another negative signal from our data is the assessment that consumers make of their income growth. The chart below shows our composite indicator for how respondents feel about their personal income growth. As shown, it took a significant tumble MoM in June from very strong levels. One-off declines of that kind have precedents, but it’s still a very significant drop and a trend to keep an eye on.
While not a direct economic variable, we also keep track of the share of consumers reporting they have health insurance. That number drifted slowly higher from 2014 through 2017 but has since started to slide, hitting the lowest level in years in our June data. This could be a factor in how confident about their personal finances our respondents are feeling.
Finally, some less negative news. As shown in the chart below, the share of respondents who report they are living paycheck to paycheck (a measure of economic insecurity, or perceived economic insecurity) has steadily fallen since late 2016. While this series is a bit elevated from recent levels, it’s still trending lower which is one positive take-away from our survey.
Finally, we’ll take a look at stock-specific insight from our survey. Since late 2015, “core” Facebook has been seeing steady declines in the share of consumers reporting it as one of their two most frequent social media sites. Fortunately for the stock, Instagram has seen steadily rising popularity that has offset much of the usage decline from the core product. Remember, if you aren’t already a subscriber to our Pulse add-onn service, you can access the whole report by signing up for a free 30-day trial.