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Rising Consumer Confidence Lifts Discover U.S. Spending MonitorSM To Five-Year High

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor increased 6.8 points from September to October, the largest one-month increase in the history of the Monitor. The Monitor is a 5-year-old daily poll tracking economic confidence and spending intentions of nearly 8,200 consumers throughout the month. October’s 98.1 rating is an all-time high for the Monitor.

 

Highlights of Discover U.S. Spending Monitor Results

    August     September     October
      2012     2012     2012
Discover U.S. Spending Monitor Index     88.6     91.3     98.1
U.S. Economy Improving     26%     30%     35%
Personal Finances Improving     20%     23%     28%
 

Economic Confidence Continues to Improve

The percent of consumers rating the U.S. economy as good or excellent increased to 18 percent in October, up 5 percentage points from September 2012 and 11 percentage points from October 2011. In advance of the last presidential election in October 2008, only 8 percent of consumers rated the U.S. economy as good or excellent.

  • While 51 percent of consumers viewed the economy as poor in October, this was a 5-point decrease from September 2012 and an 18-point decrease from October 2011.
  • From September 2012 to October 2012, male and female respondents who rated the economy as good or excellent increased by 7 points to 20 percent and 4 points to 16 percent, respectively.
  • Respondents expecting the economy to improve increased 5 points from the prior month and 21 points from October 2011 to a Monitor-high 35 percent.
  • While 46 percent of consumers with an income of greater than $75,000 expect the economy to improve, only 35 percent of those making between $40,000 and $75,000 and 28 percent of those making less than $40,000 had the same optimism.

Personal Finance Optimism Continues to Grow

Consumers are more optimistic about their personal finances as well.

  • 37 percent of consumers rated their personal finances as good or excellent, a 3-point increase from September and an 8-point increase year-over-year.
  • Additionally, 28 percent of respondents expect their personal finances to improve moving forward, an increase of 4 points from September.
  • There was an even greater gap between men and women who expect their personal finances to get better next month, with 31 percent of men (up 7 points from September) and 25 percent of women (up 2 points) expecting their personal finances to improve.

Consumer Spending Intentions Hold Steady

Despite high economic and personal finance confidence, October indicators show that overall, 51 percent of consumers plan to spend the same next month as they did the previous month, up 2 percentage points from September. Additionally, more consumers plan to save or invest the same next month, up 6 points from September to 51 percent.

  • On household expenses, such as gas and groceries, 49 percent of consumers expect to spend the same next month, up 5 points from September.
  • Up 1 point from September, 10 percent of consumers expect to spend more on discretionary personal expenses next month, while those who expect to spend the same next month increased 3 points, to 41 percent.
  • On major personal purchases like a vacation, 45 percent expect to spend less, down 3 points from September, while 39 percent plan to spend the same, up 2 points.
  • Consumers plan to spend less on household improvements next month (47 percent), a 2-point decrease from September. Intentions to spend the same next month increased by 2 points, to 34 percent.
  • Respondents who anticipate added expenses or a shortfall in income in the next month decreased to 32 percent, a record low for the Monitor.

About Discover U.S. Spending Monitor

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor SM is a monthly index of consumer spending intentions and capacity that is based on interviews with a random sample of 8,200 U.S. adults conducted at a rate of 275 per night. In addition to spending, the survey asks consumers their opinions on the U.S. economy and their personal finances. The Monitor began in May 2007 with a base index of 100. Surveys are conducted by Rasmussen Reports, an independent survey research firm ( http://www.rasmussenreports.com).

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company operates the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers home loans, private student loans, personal loans, online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its direct banking business. Its payment businesses consist of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discoverfinancial.com.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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