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Consumers Are Anxious AND Pessimistic

06/08/2011

The consumers you are marketing to buy products and services are in an extremely fragile economic state, with almost half saying they probably couldn’t come up with $2,000 in 30 days. Why $2,000? That amount reflects a major emergency expense for car repair or home repair.

A recent study by The National Bureau of Economic Research illustrates the fragile state of today’s consumer. In a nutshell:

  • 24.9 percent of respondents reporting being able to raise $2,000
  • 25.1 percent probably able
  • 22.2 percent probably unable
  • 27.9 percent certainly unable

Perhaps most alarming is that a sizable fraction of seemingly “middle class” American judge themselves to be financially fragile. Large financial losses or unemployment are often at the root of their situation. The result is middle class consumers with high anxiety or extreme pessimism.

Any product or service is a tough sell when the target audience is unable to buy or anxious about their financial well-being.

Yesterday Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “The economy will strengthen”. He didn’t offer any specific steps the Fed would take in support of his claim. The stock market fell in response. Way to go, Ben! Kind of reminds me of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy”.


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