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comScore Study Reveals All Consumer Income Segments Cutting Back as Inflation Fears and Housing Concerns Intensify

Sep 02, 2008 (12:09 PM EDT)
URL: http://www.techweb.com/show-press-release/X718618/comscore-study-reveals-all-consumer-income-segments-cutting-back-as-inflation-fears-and-housing-concerns-intensify.html

RESTON, Va., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- comScore, Inc. , a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the results of a study examining recent changes in consumer attitudes and perceptions about the state of the U.S. economy. The study showed that consumers in all income segments are cutting back on spending due to concerns about the economy, and that they were doing so to an even greater extent in July 2008 than in April 2008. While spending cutbacks are being reported by a greater percentage of people in the lower income brackets, concern is also catching up with the highest income bracket -- which showed the greatest increase in cutback over the time period analyzed.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080115/COMSCORELOGO) Percent of Consumers Cutting Back Spending by Income Segment Date: April and July 2008 Source: comScore Survey on the State of the U.S. Retail Economy Percent of Respondents Household Income Segment Apr-08 Jul-08 Point Change $100K or more 66 % 72 % +6 $50K - $99,999 77 % 81 % +4 Under $50K 84 % 86 % +2

"These findings illustrate how this economic downturn has eroded consumer confidence among all consumer income groups," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "Even those consumers with the highest income are increasingly feeling the negative impact of economic factors and are changing their buying behavior accordingly."

Inflation More Concerning to Middle- and Lower-Income Households

Study findings also showed that while inflation continues to be the top economic concern for the majority of Americans, it is becoming an ever-increasing concern among middle- and lower-income households. The percentage of respondents indicating that inflation was their biggest concern increased by 5 points to 67 percent among households earning between $50,000 and $99,999 and to 70 percent among households earning less than $50,000 per year.

While the percentage of households earning $100,000 or more who indicated that inflation was their biggest concern actually declined 11 points during the same time period, it appears that their inflation concerns have been displaced to some degree by increasing concerns about real estate and home values, which more than doubled from April to July.

Top Economic Concern by Household Income Segment Date: April and July 2008 Source: comScore Survey on the State of the U.S. Retail Economy Household Income Segment Percent of Respondents Rising Prices Apr-08 Jul-08 Point Change Total 64 % 67 % +3 $100K or more 67 % 56 % -11 $50K - $99,999 62 % 67 % +5 Under $50K 65 % 70 % +5 Real Estate/Home Apr-08 Jul-08 Point Value Change Total 6 % 5 % -1 $100K or more 6 % 14 % +8 $50K - $99,999 10 % 7 % -3 Under $50K 4 % 2 % -2

"While all U.S. consumer income segments have been showing strain from rising prices for some time, it's particularly troubling that the upper-income segment, which represents fully 30 percent of all consumer spending, is now also showing a rapidly increasing concern about the downturned housing market," added Mr. Fulgoni. "This raises the specter that this important group will further cut back their discretionary spending and cause overall consumer spending growth rates to slow even further."

Consumers Say the Internet is Helpful in Finding Pricing Information in Tight Economy

With consumers increasingly cost conscious, many are turning to the Internet for pricing information. The survey findings revealed that nearly three out of four consumers believe the Internet has made it 'a lot easier' or 'somewhat easier' to find better, more useful pricing information.

Question: To what extent has the Internet allowed you to find better, more useful pricing information? Date: July 2008 Source: comScore Survey on the State of the Current U.S. Retail Economy Percent of Response Respondents Internet has made it a lot easier 35 % Internet has made it somewhat easier 39 % Internet has not made it easier nor has it made it harder 24 % Internet has made it somewhat harder 1 % Internet has made it a lot harder 1 %

Additionally, 75 percent of respondents said they believe the Internet will become an even more important channel for pricing information, with 41 percent of respondents saying it will be 'a lot more important' and 34 percent of respondents saying it will be 'somewhat more important' in the future.

Question: How important do you think the Internet will become for providing information about pricing? Date: July 2008 Source: comScore Survey on the State of the Current U.S. Retail Economy Percent of Response Respondents A lot more important 41 % Somewhat more important 34 % About the same 24 % Somewhat less important <1 % A lot less important <1 %

About comScore

comScore, Inc. http://www.comscore.com/boilerplate is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit .

CONTACT: Andrea Vollman of comScore, Inc., +1-312-775-6646, press@comscore.com

Web site: http://www.comscore.com//