Each month we run a survey of 1,500 US consumers balanced to census. In the survey, we ask consumers roughly 100 questions about a variety of financial and economic topics regarding both their personal situations and their sentiment on the US economy as a whole. We then break down the results to identify underlying trends or shifts that have yet to show up in the widely followed economic data that’s released throughout the month. If you haven’t yet seen the monthly report that we publish breaking down our survey results, you can see it now for free with a 30-day trial to our Bespoke Consumer Pulse subscription, which is $365/year once you get past the one-month trial. The report features current and historical data on the six topics in the heat map shown below, which is from this month’s survey. It also features analysis on individual stocks like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet, Disney, Panera, Chipotle, and pretty much every other key stock you can think of that involves the consumer.
The heat map below is color coded to show month-over-month (inside band) and year-over-year (outer band) trends in the six major areas of focus in our monthly Pulse survey. As you can see, Sentiment and Finances are the two categories in October that saw both MoM and YoY increases, while “Housing” and “Activity” are the only two categories that saw weakness month-over-month. With respect to the Labor market ahead of Friday’s employment report, while conditions are neutral relative to last year at this time, on a MoM basis, conditions have improved. If you’d like to see the underlying analysis (charts and commentary) that goes along with this heat map, sign up for the 30-day free trial we mentioned above.
There are literally hundreds of charts like the one below in our monthly report, but we wanted to show you this one as an example of a unique question asked in our survey. In this question, we ask survey takers to rate their current financial condition with the average person. As shown, we’ve seen a big pick-up in this reading over the last few months after it bottomed in late 2015. In reality, more than 50% of survey takers can’t be better than average, but when this reading is above 3, it suggests that more than 50% of consumers feel like they’re better off than the average. That’s a positive in our view.