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Consumers’ Recession Expectations Remain Strong

As a result, many are postponing purchases.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: kzenon/iStock.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: kzenon/iStock.com

Fully two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. adults expect the economy will enter a recession later this year, Northwestern Mutual’s newly released “2023 Planning & Progress Study” has found.

According to the research, most Americans are responding to economic uncertainty with action, making adjustments – small and large – to their financial priorities and choices.

More specifically, economic uncertainty is leading most Americans (60 percent) to postpone plans and purchases of one kind or another. More than a third (36 percent) of people say they are postponing daily purchases like meals out, new clothes and event tickets. Three in 10 (29 percent) say they are shelving large purchases or projects like remodeling a home or buying a new car. For younger adults, the postponements also include putting some big life decisions on pause.

“The impact of inflation continues, and Americans are reminded about elevated prices every time they fill up their gas tanks,” said Christian Mitchell, Chief Customer officer at Northwestern Mutual. “However, worries about recession are quickly rising from nil to real. For Gen Z in particular, that means learning how to prepare for the long-term and the risk of the first sustained economic downturn in their young professional lives.”

The “2023 Planning & Progress Study” was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual among 2740 U.S. adults aged 18 or older. The survey was conducted online between Feb. 13 and March 2, 2023. Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, household income and propensity to be online to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

Click here for more from the study.

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