back to press releases >

According to Survey, Massachusetts Consumers Most Optimistic About Finances; Connecticut Least

As part of Empathica's Consumer Insights Panel, U.S. consumers reveal financial optimism as well as spending intentions across a variety of industries — ranging from grocery and gas stations, to pharmacies and electronics.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada - August 23, 2011Empathica Inc., a leading provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to some of the world's most respected brands, announced results from its Consumer Insights Panel survey of more than 14,000 U.S. consumers. Findings reveal that nearly half of the consumers in Massachusetts (47.3%) and Georgia (45.4%) expect their financial situation will be improved within the next six months. In contrast, Connecticut and Wisconsin consumers are the least financially optimistic, with nearly a quarter anticipating their financial situation will be worse (24.7% and 22.3%, respectively).

"We can conclude from this survey a wide variation among U.S. consumers in terms of their optimism and spending outlook for the second half of 2011," said Dr. Gary Edwards, Chief Customer Officer at Empathica. "Each state is dealing with unique financial issues in today's market that ultimately influences consumer spending intentions and their retailer preferences. Retailers in Connecticut and Wisconsin, for example, will need a different approach of connecting with and retaining customers than retailers in states that are more financially optimistic. In addition to discounts, less optimistic consumers tend to seek alternative spending such as restaurant-type takeout available in grocery stores."

Top 5 Financially Optimistic U.S. States:
1. Massachusetts  47.3%
2. Georgia  45.4%
3. South Carolina  45.3%
4. Texas  43.8%
5. Oklahoma  42.5%
(% of consumers who expect their financial situation, within the next six months, will be better than it is today)

Top 5 Financially Pessimistic U.S. States:
1. Connecticut  24.7%
2. Wisconsin  22.3%
3. Nebraska  20.6%
4. Nevada  19.6%
5. [Tie] Michigan and Pennsylvania  19.5%
(% of consumers who expect their financial situation, within the next six months, will be worse than it is today)

Gas and Groceries: Necessities Amid Spending Hesitations
While more than half of survey respondents expressed reduced spending intentions across a variety of industries, the vast majority of consumers indicated they will spend more or the same amount at gas stations and grocery stores/supermarkets within the next three months (87.6% and 85.5%, respectively).

"Consumers invest a lot of time and money into grocery and gas purchases," said Brian Jones, Empathica V.P. of Consumer and Packaged Goods. "Grocers in particular have an overwhelming opportunity to learn consumer preferences, improve their in-store experience, and ultimately become the consumer's preferred brand." When asked specifically about their supermarket of choice, more than half of consumers reported spending more than 50% of their dollars at their primary grocery store.

In looking at grocery spending intentions across states, approximately one-fifth of consumers in Connecticut, Kentucky and North Carolina expect to spend less at grocery stores and supermarkets in the next few months. Brands like Stop & Shop, Kroger and Wal-Mart, which ranked as the primary grocer for the majority of survey respondents in these three states, must cater to a market of pessimistic grocery shoppers.

Pharmacies, casual dining restaurants and quick service/fast food restaurants represent the other highest-ranking industries in terms of consumer spending intentions for the next three months. On the other end of the spectrum, furniture stores, fine dining restaurants and electronics ranked lowest.

According to Dr. Edwards, "For larger big box retailers, this shift in spending undoubtedly means shifting product skews to the areas where cash-strapped consumers are still spending. It also means 'packaging' products together, like for back-to-school shopping, in a compelling way that emphasizes value to the consumer."

For full results, visit

About the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel:
The Empathica Consumer Insights serves as an authoritative voice on consumer based economic indicators; the retail, financial services and restaurant industries; consumer shopping intentions and customer satisfaction as reported by thousands of consumers in the U.S. and Canada. Results from Empathica's Consumer Insights, led by Dr. Gary Edwards and Empathica's Consumer Insights' team, are published several times a year. The results are based on outbound Internet surveys with Empathica's growing Insights Panel, derived from more than 30 million consumer surveys per year. Results have been weighted to reflect latest Census distributions in the U.S. and in Canada, including Region, Gender, Age and Income.

Aforementioned data is reported by the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel – Wave 1 2011, Issue 4. Note: Empathica analyzed 34 states for those ranked in this release. To be statistically relevant, the states had to have a minimum of 100 survey respondents.

For more information, visit

About Empathica:
Empathica provides Customer Experience Management programs to more than 200 of the world's leading brands, ranging from multi-unit retailers, to banks and restaurants. Its rich analysis of survey data using state-of-the-art surveying and dashboard reporting software allows for performance-improvement solutions, evidence-based marketing insights, and customer experience management consulting. Annually, Empathica's 30 million customer surveys in 25 languages reach more than 70,000 locations. A privately-held organization, Empathica is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and also has an office in Birmingham, England. For more information about deriving actionable insights that enhance a brand's operational excellence, visit Empathica at

Media Contact:
Lauren Eichmann
Phone: 312-265-3089

Empathica Contact:
Bruce Warren
Phone: 905-542-9001, ext 242

back to press releases >

Want to learn more about what Empathica can do for you?

Contact us at 1.888.633.1633/0121.632.2240 or

Retail Weekly article download

our clients are happy and satisfied with Empathica

our clients are happy and satisfied with Empathica

Business Improvement
Team Engagement
Business StrategyBest Option

driveExperience driveMessage driveEngagement