45% of Americans Choose Banks Based on their Fees

New data from GOBankingRates, a premier personal finance website, reveals that the primary feature consumers seek in a financial institution is few or no fees on products and services.

Forty-five percent of survey respondents reported “low or no fees” as being the most important banking feature or service offered by a financial institution, followed by online and mobile banking (17 percent), convenient branch locations (14 percent), exceptional customer service (12 percent) and great interest rates (12 percent).

CLICK HERE to see full survey details.

“These findings really speak to Americans’ aversion to losing money,” said Jennifer Calonia, senior editor of GOBankingRates. “However, this might be the very handicap preventing bank customers from succeeding at saving money and growing wealth.  As interest rates rise, it will become more important for the average consumer to find high-yielding accounts.” Read the rest of this entry »

Confidence in the American Dream May Be Eroding but Americans’ Financial Satisfaction is on the Rise

Though the U.S. economy is showing signs of recovery, Americans’ belief in the American Dream remains deeply shaken. Of the older Millennials surveyed, ages 25-32, half feel the American Dream is disappearing completely. Forty-five percent of older Baby Boomers, ages 54-64, also share this belief, an increase of 15 percent over the past two years.

Though Americans both young and old generally hold bearish views on the economy, the definition of the American Dream itself appears to be in flux. While older respondents hold close to its traditional definitions—78 percent of older Boomers consider home ownership a key component and 80 percent consider financial independence an equally important element—younger respondents show notably less engagement with these historic benchmarks for financial achievement, instead focusing on developing a monthly budget, suggesting views around financial satisfaction are undergoing fundamental shifts, according to MassMutual’s third biennial study, The 2013 State of the American Family Study, offering a broad snapshot of American families’ financial views.

“We’ve found that American families hold similar core values when it comes to their finances, but one of the study’s key takeaways is that the emphasis placed on these financial views vary between demographic groups,” said Mike Fanning, Executive Vice President, U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual. “Between generations, ethnicities, and family types, the goals families hold, the confidence they feel, and the financial products and services they use differ in clear and diverse ways.” Read the rest of this entry »

2014 US consumer trends

As 2014 begins, Mintel’s Consumer Trends Analysts Jennifer Zegler and Stacy Glasgow outline the four trends set to impact the American consumer market, examining the areas of commercial opportunity for brands – and what consumers will be buying into in 2014.

Below are brief quotes about each trend. Download the complete Mintel 2014 US consumer trends at www.mintel.com/us2014 or phone the Mintel press line.

Internationalism on the agenda

“In 2013, from the arrival of the UK’s royal baby to the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, whether to share joy or to remember, the global community has become close-knit. The immediacy provided by technology heightens connections. People use social media and other innovations to eliminate geographic limits. This year, sporting events, including the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, will spotlight the host countries. This interest in ‘internationalism’ is already influencing shopping habits; Mintel finds 67% of legal US spirits drinkers are interested in trying alcoholic drinks from other countries including Brazilian cachaca, a sugar-cane-based liquor,” says Jennifer Zegler, consumer trends analyst at Mintel.

“The proliferation of technology makes it possible to instantly search an athlete or country while sporting events also provide an opportunity to create new allegiances. Today, more than half (57%) of professional sports fans say they are loyal to a team that is not near where they live, and long-distance cheering is eased by advancements in technology,” Jennifer continues. Read the rest of this entry »

Consumer Confidence Rebounds in December

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index , which had decreased in November, rebounded in December. The Index now stands at 78.1 (1985=100), up from 72.0 in November. The Present Situation Index increased to 76.2 from 73.5. The Expectations Index increased to 79.4 from 71.1 last month.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey , based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was December 17.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “Consumer confidence rebounded in December and is now close to pre-government shutdown levels (September 2013, 80.2). Sentiment regarding current conditions increased to a 5 ½ year high (April 2008, 81.9), with consumers attributing the improvement to more favorable economic and labor market conditions. Looking ahead, consumers expressed a greater degree of confidence in future economic and job prospects, but were moderately more pessimistic about their earning prospects. Despite the many challenges throughout 2013, consumers are in better spirits today than when the year began.”  Read the rest of this entry »