New York A new nationwide survey issued today by Citi revealed that consumers across all socioeconomic levels and ethnic groups have made permanent spending and savings adjustments to adapt to the current economic situation. According to the data, 63 percent of Americans surveyed said the way they spend and save has been forever changed as a result of the economic downturn. Only 29 percent said spending and saving would go back to the way it was before the recession.
Citi conducted this nationwide poll as part of its ongoing effort to better understand changes in the needs of the consumers and communities the company serves.
The survey also found that consumers across all income levels and ethnic groups said they plan to continue their adjusted spending and saving habits. More specifically:
Eric Eve, Senior Vice President, Global Community Relations at Citi, said, "This new survey points to a profound shift in the way people think about their saving and spending. The current economic environment is altering, perhaps permanently, the way we think about spending money. As Citi changes the way it does business to reflect the new economic realities, it's important we continue to understand how our customers also have been affected by the economic challenges and pressures they currently face."
Adjustments Being Made Across All Income Levels
People across all income levels and ethnic groups in the survey said they have made adjustments to the way they spend and save because of the current economic situation.
According to the data, across all income levels:
More specifically, those who earn less than $50,000 were most likely to cut back on everyday expenses (80 percent), followed by 76 percent for those who earn $50,000 - $75,000. But even at the top of the income scale, people are making adjustments and cutting back on everyday expenses – 70 percent for those who earn more than $150,000 and 68 percent for those who earn $75,000 - $150,000.
In addition, those in the highest income level were more likely (33 percent) than those in the lowest level (27 percent) to think about postponing retirement due to their economic situation.
African Americans, Hispanics Have Made Greater Adjustments; 40 Percent Working Longer Hours to Make Ends Meet
Despite the spending and savings adjustments being made across all income levels, according to the survey, more African Americans and Hispanics than the national sample have cut back on credit card purchases and have taken money out of savings to pay for expenses. In addition, these ethnic groups said they have been working longer hours to make ends meet and have sought additional education to increase their employment opportunities.
Eve added, "Keeping our finger on the pulse of how the economy is affecting our customers and the communities in which they live and work is especially important now, when people are changing the way they spend and save."
Hart Research Associates conducted the telephone survey of 2,005 adults nationally between September 1-5, 2009. The Random Digit Dialed (RDD) survey has an overall statistical margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points. The survey also included a panel of respondents who use only a mobile telephone.
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.