May 24, 2021 – Consumer confidence¹ in April increased for the fourth straight month to a pandemic high of 121.7. Gains were led by the Present Situation Index, which advanced 29.5 points to 139.6 for a monthly record. While the Present Situation and Future Expectations indices moved in tandem in March, consumers returned to a more subdued assessment of the future in April. The combination of increased vaccinations and distribution of stimulus funds gave consumers reason to feel positive about current conditions, but forbearance, eviction moratorium, elevated unemployment insurance and other support programs expiring in the coming months may have spurred some uncertainty about the future.
After past recessions when the country entered periods of economic expansion, consumer confidence tracked closely with discretionary spending. Today’s consumers are ready to get out, to travel, and to engage in many of the pre-pandemic activities they have been hindered from doing in the past year. While the numbers bode well for emerging consumer optimism, expectations for the future are still hindered—particularly for middle income consumers who still feel the overhang of economic and health concerns.