Consumer Confidence Improves as Inflation and Pandemic Fears Ease
December 22, 2021
American consumers were feeling more optimistic heading into the holiday season, even as Covid numbers climb and inflation remains high.
The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 115.8 in December, up from 111.9 in November. The survey found that consumers were less concerned about both inflation and Covid than in the previous month, but the survey was conducted just as the Omicron variant was emerging, so may not reflect the impact the new variant will have on consumers.
The holiday season is an important period for retail and travel spending, and the consumer confidence index gauges how willing American consumers are to spend on goods and services, spending which accounts for nearly 70% of economic activity.
Despite December’s uptick, the index remains well below levels seen in the early summer, before the Delta variant began to grip the U.S.
Last week, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales had increased modestly at the start of the holiday season, despite shoppers facing higher prices and supply shortages.