forecasting and futures consultants

Consumer Pulse and Consumer Spending Leading Indicators

Consumer Pulse is a tracking survey of how consumers intend to use discretionary funds, how they feel about their financial situation, and what they expect to happen to interest rates and house prices.  The surveys have been conducted at least twice a year since 2003.  A nationally representative telephone survey is used to collect the data.  The sample size is currently 1,200 per wave.

The Willingness to Spend data provides a set of leading indicators for retail sales, household consumption expenditure, and outbound international tourism growth.  More information on the leading indicators

This survey has been designed to overcome limitations of the consumer sentiment surveys - which both foreseechange and the Reserve Bank of Australia have found “tell us nothing we didn’t already know” and have not been shown to have any predictive power.

In April 2009, the Consumer Pulse survey enabled foreseechange to conclude that the worst was already over for Australia’s economy - despite continued dire predictions by official and market economists for several months after that.  This prediction was published in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald in April 2009.  View the article.

In October 2014, Robert Gottliebsen wrote about our willingness to spend indicator in Business Spectator.  View the article.

Our surveys have detected a major change in consumer priorities since mid-2010.  As the data can be analysed by demographics, we can see very different reasons for this change in certain age groups and we can see that some age groups have had only a small change in their priorities.

There have also been major changes in consumer interest rate preferences over the past ten years.

In November 2013 we augmented our survey with questions about saving, which provide an indication of when the high household saving may ease, allowing an increase in Willingness to Spend.  This has since been regularly updated.  The report will be available at our online shop.  Alternatively an order form can be downloaded.

Spatial analysis of the survey measures is also available.  For example, analysis shows Profligate Spender (consumers both willing and able to spend) incidence varies substantially within and between cities and regions.  This information can help to improve advertising ROI and input to store location and ranging.  Reports are available at our online shop.