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CEA Report: Consumer Confidence in Economy Low, But Consumers Keep Spending
Oct 6, 2011
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Consumer sentiment in the overall economy, according to Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) data, fell in September 2011 to its lowest point in the history of the CEA Indexes. Consumer confidence in technology spending also fell in September.

Consumer confidence in the overall economy dropped for the fifth consecutive month in September, putting it at its lowest point since CEA Indexes began tracking in January 2007. The September Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) was at 156.8, down two points from August 2011 down more than 6 points from September 2010.

Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and director of research put the blame for dropping consumer sentiment on drops in equity prices, which "stymied any hope of a return of consumer optimism,” he said. “The ensuing European debt crisis and the news of additional quantitative easing have consumers mired in uncertainty.”

After an increase in August, the Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE), measuring consumer expectations about technology spending, dropped two and a half points 81.9. The ICTE is at its lowest level since May 2011, but is still up a point from this time last year.

“CEA’s proprietary sentiment indicators have been very consistent and accurate this year, predicting a decline in the economy well in advance of other metrics,” said DuBravac. “Consumer sentiment has fallen throughout the year as the economic picture has weakened."

But, he said, "a dichotomy continues to exist between consumer sentiment and consumer behavior. While consumers continue to lower their household debt levels and avoid making some large purchases, retail sales and consumer spending have held up. Some segments of consumer tech, like tablet computing, continue to garner consumer dollars.”

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