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Economic Confidence Higher Year Over Year According To Discover U.S. Spending MonitorSM

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor declined 2.7 points to 95.4 in November from 98.1 in October, reflecting lower consumer confidence in personal finances. However, consumers indicated that they intend to spend more in December during the holiday season. The Monitor is a 5-year-old daily poll tracking economic confidence and spending intentions of nearly 8,200 consumers throughout the month.
     
Highlights of Discover U.S. Spending Monitor Results
        September

2012
      October

2012
      November

2012
Discover U.S. Spending Monitor Index       91.3       98.1       95.4
U.S. Economy Improving       30%       35%       35%
Personal Finances Improving       23%       28%       26%
                 

Consumers Maintain Economic Confidence

The percentage of consumers rating the U.S. economy as good or excellent remained the same as October at 18 percent, up 10 percentage points from November 2011.
  • In November 2012, 51 percent of consumers viewed the economy as poor, an 11-point decrease from November 2011.
  • Female respondents who rated the economy as good or excellent in November increased 2 percentage points to 18 percent compared to October. However, male respondents who rated the economy as good or excellent declined 3 percentage points from October, also to 18 percent.
  • Remaining at a Monitor high, 35 percent of respondents expect the economy to improve, a 16-point year over year improvement from November 2011.
  • Consumers with an income of greater than $75,000 and those making between $40,000 and $75,000 both reported a decline in expectations of the economy getting better (down 2 points to 44 percent from October and down 1 percentage point to 34 percent, respectively). However, those making less than $40,000, who felt the economy was getting better, increased 3 percentage points to 31 percent.

Outlook on Personal Finances Declines

Consumer outlook on personal finances declined from October to November 2012, but remained up year over year.
  • Consumers rating their personal finances as good or excellent declined 2 percentage points in November from the previous month to 35 percent. However, this is 2 percentage points higher than November 2011.
  • While the percent of respondents who expect their personal finances to improve in the future declined 2 points from October to 26 percent, this is 7 percentage points higher than November 2011.
  • Respondents between ages 18 to 39 who rate their personal finances as poor increased 7 points from October to 28 percent.

Consumers Intend to Spend More in December

Despite a decline in confidence about their personal finances, 39 percent of consumers are gearing up for the holidays and have plans to increase their spending in December. This is up 9 percentage points from last month and is typical this time of year. Twelve percent of consumers also plan on increasing their discretionary personal spending such as going out to dinner and the movies, up 3 percentage points from last month. However, consumers plan to offset their discretionary spending in other areas.
  • On major personal purchases such as a vacation, 46 percent expect to spend less, up 1 percentage point from October.
  • On household expenses, such as gas and groceries, 9 percent of consumers expect to spend less next month, up 2 percentage points from October.
  • Consumers also plan to spend less on household improvements next month, a 2-point increase from October to 49 percent.
  • 42 percent of respondents intend to save or invest less in December, up 4 percentage points from last month.

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.

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