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Survey Results: The Consumer Sentiment Study

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The Consumer Sentiment Study is a quarterly survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, which aims to track Americans’ perception of current and future financial climates, market conditions and plans for their money. In each installment, Marcus will release new data to provide a window into the pulse of the consumer as it pertains to personal finance and spending behavior over time in the United States.

The Consumer Sentiment Survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample (using U.S. Census data) of 1,502 Americans. The survey was conducted September 2020.

This Consumer Sentiment Study was fielded amidst extraordinary circumstances, from the continued spread of Covid-19 to global protests around racial injustice. Further, it was recently confirmed by the National Bureau of Economic Research that the United States officially entered a recession in February of this year as the pandemic crippled the economy. Our study tracks the effects of these historic events on consumer behavior. 

At Marcus, we remain committed to listening and learning from consumers. We hope you will find the results interesting and informative.

We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you are better off or worse off financially than you were 6 months ago?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, over a third of Americans (34%) say they are worse off financially than they were 6 months ago.

Now looking ahead: do you think that 6 months from now you will be better off financially, worse off, or about the same as now?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, nearly a third of Americans (31%) think they will be better off financially 6 months from now.
  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, nearly half of Americans (46%) think they will be the same financially 6 months from now.

Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole: do you think that during the next 6 months we will have good times financially, or bad times, or what?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, nearly a quarter of Americans (24%) think that during the next 6 months we’ll have good financial business conditions.
  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, 36% of Americans think that during the next 6 months we’ll have same financial business conditions.

Which of the following market events or business conditions are you most concerned about? (Select all that apply)

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, in terms of market events or business conditions, Americans are most concerned with an economic recession (49%), followed by the presidential election (46%) and then health conditions or illnesses (43%).

To what extent will your financial situation impact your vote in the presidential election?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, 60% of Americans said that their financial situation will impact their vote in the presidential election.

To what extent do you anticipate the election results will impact your financial situation?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, 64% of Americans anticipate the election results will impact their financial situation.

Thinking about the next 6 months, how are you feeling financially? (Select all that apply)

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, more than a third of Americans (35%) are feeling financially hopeful when thinking about the next 6 months.

Do you think a democratic candidate or republican candidate winning the election would be better for your finances?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, 42% of Americans think a democratic candidate winning the election would be better for their finances while 40% of Americans think a republican candidate winning the election would be better for their finances.

Compared to your current behavior, do you think in the next 6 months you will…

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, compared to their current behavior, almost a third of Americans (33%) think they will save more during the next 6 months.

You said that during the next 6 months, you think you will save more. Why do you believe you will be saving more money? (Select all that apply)

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, of those who think they will save more during the next 6 months, 39% believe this is because they will be building an emergency savings account. 

How long do you think it will take for the U.S. economy to make a full recovery and return to pre Covid-19 levels of activity?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, nearly a third of Americans (32%) think it will take 1-2 years for the U.S. economy to make a full recovery and return to pre Covid-19 levels of activity while one in four (26%) think it will take 6-12 months..

How long do you think it will be before you feel comfortable returning to the following activities?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, 34% of Americans think it will be less than one month before they feel comfortable shopping at brick-and-mortar store locations, followed by dining out at restaurants (25%), and returning to work in an office environment (23%).

Compared to before the outbreak, do you feel that you have spent more or less time learning about personal financial matters (e.g. personal finance, saving, investing, general economic trends)?

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, over a quarter of Americans (27%) feel that they have spent more time learning about personal financial matters.

Where have you been learning about financial matters? (Select all that apply)

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, of those who have been spending more time learning about personal finance, a third of Americans (33%) have been learning about financial matters from social media.

Quarterly Consumer Sentiment Study Overview

The Consumer Sentiment Survey was conducted by Marcus by Goldman Sachs in September 2020 among 1,502 Americans.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.