Americans Fear ‘Double Dip’ Recession & European Financial Problems

65% fear a ‘double dip’ recession, 72% say Europe’s financial problems likely to hurt US, 42% will cut back personal spending, 48% say spending will remain the same over next 3 months

Beyond significant concerns about the current state of the US economy, Americans see a double-dip recession as a real possibility and fear Europe’s financial problems will harm the US economy. 

65% of the roughly 1,000 Americans polled last week by StrategyOne say it’s likely that the US will experience a double dip recession, compared with just 35% who say it’s not likely to happen. 72% believe that Europe’s financial problems are likely to harm the US’ economic recovery, compared with just 28% who say the US is largely insulated. 

Add to this the fact that just 36% have seen signs of economic recovery where they live and work, compared with 64% who say they have not seen too many signs or any signs at all of economic recovery. In addition, 79% - nearly 8 in 10 Americas - agree that they really can’t say for sure that the economy is improving. 

That’s why with calendar year 2010 at the half way point now, three quarters (70%) of Americans see economic recovery coming not until at least the end of 2011 and one – quarter (23%) say the economy won’t ever fully recover. 

The StrategyOne survey also found that 57% of Americans are fearful about running out of money in the next year and 44% - nearly half the country - agrees that if things get much worse, they could easily see their family slipping into bankruptcy. This is not surprising given that two in three (67%) Americans report they are living paycheck to pay check. 

“Americans are expecting to take a double whammy on the chin soon; Europe’s debt crisis and a double dip recession”, said Bradley Honan, Vice President of StrategyOne, who authored the study. “The tension is clearly palatable. Americans are worried and scared about what’s coming next and that’s on top of the near universal recognition that we are mired in a pretty deep recession already.”

This fear is reflected in Americans’ spending habits—when asked about their own personal spending over the next 3 months, 42% say they will spend less money than they did over the last 3 months, while just 10% will spend more. 48% report their personal spending will likely stay even. 

Predicted online spending habits over the next 3 months reflect a similar trend as well—36% report they will spend less money online than they did over the last 3 months, compared with just 9% who report they will spend more. 55% report they will likely spend the same amount as they did over the last 3 months. 

When consumers do spend, value seems to be of paramount importance. Almost half the country, or 47%, say they have primarily purchased products or services that they believe have great value, reflecting an effort to spend only when it’s important. 

“Attitudes towards the current economic climate should be very concerning for those who sell consumers goods and services. The perception that the economy is likely slowing down again is leading consumers to tighten their belts and keep their wallets and purses closed. Consumer marketers will need to figure out how to best dial up the perceived value of what they are selling in order to stay on track”, said Bradley Honan of StrategyOne. 

Here are some other conclusions that emerged from the StrategyOne data set: 

Perceptions of the Current Economy:

There is near universal agreement (92%) that the US is still in a recession, and a strong majority, 79%, disagree with experts’ characterization that the recession is over. 

Additionally, more than half of the public (57%) believes the U.S. economy is either in a deep recession (48%) or in a 1930s style economic depression (9%). Only 4% say the economy is doing fine and 39% say the economy is in a “mild recession”. 

Impact of the Recession on Americans:

Significant numbers of Americans have experienced hardship as a result of the recession. 

  • 42% say that they or their spouse has had wages or salary reduced
  • 34% say they or their spouse lost their job or has been laid off
  • 33% have taken on more hours or another job to try and make ends meet
  • 28% dipped into a planned retirement account like an IRA or 401K because they needed the money
  • 14% say they have been forced to sell or liquidate a major asset like their car or home
  • 9% have had their house foreclosed on
  • 8% had their child delay college (or graduate school) or drop out to save money
  • In terms of their own personal finances, 2 in 10 expect say they will recover by the end of 2011 (20%), 3 in 10 say after the end of 2011 (27%), and a quarter say their personal finances won’t ever fully recover (24%).

  • Survey Methodology: StrategyOne conducted 1,050 online interviews among a representative sampling of Americans between June 25 and 27, 2010. The overall margin of sampling error at the 95% level of confidence is = +/- 3.02% overall and larger for subgroups. Statistical weights were designed from the United States Census Bureau statistics.

    No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!