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What Is a Consumer Confidence Report

written by: •edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 6/29/2011

Is there an organization that tracks consumers and their thoughts on jobs, the economy, and the housing market? The Conference Board does just that and here, we’ll explore the question, what is a consumer confidence report?

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    The Conference Board

    Since 1985, The Conference Board has surveyed 5,000 families from all income levels to determine consumer confidence. When considering, what is a consumer confidence report, you should be aware the final results of The Conference Board is really called the Consumer Confidence Index or CCI survey report. When consumers feel the economy is good, the confidence index is between 100% and 110%. When the economy is down, the index falls to between 40% and 60%. All numbers are based on the benchmark of 100% set in 1985, the first year the 5,000 families were surveyed.

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    About the Consumer Confidence Survey

    Consumer Confidence Wikimedia Commons The Conference Board analyzes consumer confidence based on the 5,000 households surveyed each month. Each of the families are asked their opinion on income levels, spending trends, job security, the banking industry, and stock prices. Not only are they asked to evaluate how they feel currently but also what they feel about all of these issues six months into the future.

    Households are also asked to provide income levels and the age of the head of household along with their thoughts on purchasing a new vehicle, home, or major appliance. Once the data is retrieved The Conference Board divides the information into nine regions across the US including:

    • New England
    • Middle Atlantic
    • East North Central
    • West North Central
    • South Atlantic
    • East South Central
    • West South Central
    • Mountain
    • Pacific

    Because all of the families asked to participate are considered to be average American families, the data compiled is believed to be a good indication on how consumers feel about economic issues, which in turn makes up the consumer confidence report or what is better known as the Consumer Confidence Survey.

    Image Credit: Consumer Confidence Wikimedia Commons

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    Why the Need for a CCI Survey?

    The CCI survey and the survey report that is released each month is useful to big business, Wall Street, banks, and local, state, and federal governments to help them determine where and if average Americans are or will be spending money. While that’s all and good, how can that help the consumer?

    The Conference Board does allow anyone to subscribe to and receive the survey, however, it will cost you $455 for a 12-month subscription. A high price to pay especially when the economy is down. We’ve included a sample CCI survey in our Media Gallery from August of 2008 so you can review the contents and no longer wonder what is a consumer confidence report.

    Even if a consumer doesn’t choose to purchase a subscription to the consumer confidence survey report, you can still search the Internet for websites that offer the basics of what each report contains.

    During a down economy, however, you may also be able to tell what may be in the report by your own spending habits and speaking with your friends. If you seem to be saving more of your disposable income and are cautious with spending, chances are the economy is down. If you or your friends are worried about job loss or finding a job, chances are the economy is down. On the other hand if jobs are abundant and employers are offering raises and the housing market is thriving, consumer confidence and the economy are good.

    Download and print the CCI survey found in our Media Gallery to help you further understand what is a consumer confidence report. Reports are available around the 25th of each month so search the Internet if you’re interested in the latest on the economy according to the 5,000 families surveyed.