Americans Are in a Spending Mood

Consumer Reports surveyed America recently, and found a nation that’s ready to put the bad times behind, and open its wallets again.

The venerable consumer testing firm’s Consumer Reports National Research Center surveyed 1,006 adult Americans in an effort to gauge the consumer spending moods of the country five years after the recession officially ended.

According to the results, Americans have gotten over the recession:

Sixty four percent of the respondents said they had spent “big bucks” on a major purchase in the past year. Among the big items bought, new and used vehicles were a popular choice, with 46% telling Consumer Reports they had bought a new or used vehicle in the past year or intend to buy one in the coming year.

Twelve percent had bought a home in the past year, or plan on doing so over the coming year. Also, 34% had completed a home remodeling project, or plan to.

During the recession, people did what they could to make extra money – by working extra jobs or selling off their possessions. The survey results indicate that this trend has slowed: 31% told Consumer Reports that they are holding fewer garage sales, while 30% said they are taking fewer odd jobs.

Some of this consumer exuberance was the result of pent-up demand finally being addressed. For instance, people who held on to older cars during the bad times finally bought a newer vehicle. However, some of this was clearly splurging on fun things.

Bad times are a drag – both economically and psychologically. There’s a reason why the term “depression” resonates with people. Buying a new car – or kitchen – is one way to feel liberated from enforced frugality. Let’s hope that the economy continues to support this kind of activity.


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