The Customer Effect

How are consumer habits and spending changing due to economic turbulence?

  • Economic turbulence is changing consumer spending.
  • 66% of people say that the current economic situation is making them reconsider how much they put aside for their emergency fund, while others are pushing away travel plans and dipping into their 401k.

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How are consumer habits and spending changing due to economic turbulence?

Given the economic headwinds, customers have had to reevaluate their finances and expenses and consequently consumer spending is changing. Even though inflation has cooled down a bit, consumers are still feeling the heat of layoffs and an impending recession. 

Economic instability is impacting consumer spending and emotions. Bar charts that show 51% are while 48% are frustrated with current conditions.
Source: Quicken

With prices increasing across the board, consumers are changing where they spend money. While some are reconsidering big purchases, people are revisiting travel plans as well as looking at ways to increase the amount of cash they have on hand, such as selling personal possessions or taking money out of their 401k.

Consumer spending is changing and consumers are cutting back. Row charts that show most are delaying a big purchase and pushing away travel plans.
Source: Quicken

These new findings on the state of consumer spending and behavior by Quicken are supported by reports of a higher rate of ‘hardship withdrawals’ in 2022, which more than doubled over 2021. 

Consumer spending on emergency funds

As money dries up, consumers are reconsidering the size of their emergency funds. 66% of people surveyed say that the current economic situation is making them reconsider how much they put aside for their emergency fund. The value of these kinds of savings are thrown in sharper relief for those who have been laid off, with 90% saying they are reconsidering the amount they put away in these funds, in comparison to 72% of those who have not been laid off. 

There are disparities by age as well. Fewer Millennials report having access to four months of emergency funds than Gen Z, while the same number has remained stable for Gen X and Boomers. 


Limited access to money and unstable finances are pushing people to compromise on housing. Those who have been laid off are particularly negatively impacted with 55% reporting they have had to change their housing situation. An analysis by age cohorts show that Gen Z (54%) and Millennials (43%) are particularly negatively affected when it comes to housing while only 9% of Boomers have had to reevaluate their living arrangements. 

37% of those who were laid off have had to move compared to 9% of those who weren't laid off.
Source: Quicken

Reconsidering expenditures

If consumers are impacted by layoffs, the first expense categories where they are making cuts are streaming services,  apparel, and dining out. 

Similarly households with children will reconsider spending on childcare services but are reluctant to cut back their expenditure on pets. While an average American household spends $1,480 on dogs and $908 on cats for basic expenses, the reluctance to cut back on these kinds of expenses may emerge from the fact that essential costs such as surgical vet visits for dogs are a significant portion of expenditures, while food is the biggest contributor for cats. 

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