Chart showing: US Consumer Confidence Index (2012 to 2023)

Consumer Confidence Index (2012-2024)

One of the most important things to always be on top of as an entrepreneur is the state of the economy—both present and future. Not only does it tell you how it may impact your business, but it can also arm you with the information you need to adjust your strategy going forward. 

The consumer sentiment index, also known as the consumer confidence index, is a common measure of this. In this post, we’ll take a look at what the consumer confidence index is, how its calculated, and how it’s evolved over the past decade.

What is the consumer confidence index?

The US consumer confidence index measures the overall confidence of American consumers in the economic outlook. It assesses consumers' perceptions of current economic conditions and their expectations for the future, including their views on business conditions, employment prospects, and personal financial situations.

A higher index number indicates greater consumer confidence, while a lower number suggests declining confidence. The consumer confidence index is closely watched by businesses, policymakers, and investors as it provides valuable insights into consumer sentiment, which can influence economic decision-making and forecasting.

How is the consumer confidence index calculated?

The index is calculated by asking consumers about their current financial situation, benchmarked against what it was a year ago, as well as their expectations over the coming year. The number of negative responses is then compared to positive ones. The higher the index is, the better the economic situation and outlook. 

US consumer confidence index by year (2012–2023): Table


US consumer confidence index

























US consumer confidence index: 2012–2024

According to the US consumer sentiment index by the University of Michigan, US consumer confidence had been rising nearly every year over the past decade until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

In 2012, the US consumer confidence index was measured at 76.6. Up until 2019, aside from slight dips in 2016 and 2019, the US consumer index had been increasing steadily year after year.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the US consumer sentiment fell to 81.6, a 14.4-point fall from 2019. This fell further to 77.6 in 2021. In 2022, consumer sentiment plummeted by 18.6 points to 59—the lowest in nearly half a century. In 2023, sentiment inched upward to 65.3, the first rise since 2018.

Here’s a closer look at how US consumer confidence has evolved recently. 

US consumer confidence index from Q1 2022 to Q1 2024

Chart showing: US consumer confidence index from Q1 2022 to Q1 2024


US consumer confidence index

Q1 2022


Q2 2022


Q3 2022


Q4 2022


Q1 2023


Q2 2023


Q3 2023


Q4 2023


Q1 2024


Breaking this down to a quarterly level, we see that US consumer confidence remains much lower than pre-pandemic levels. However, sentiment has been generally increasing in recent quarters.

2022 opened with consumer confidence registering at 63.1 in the first quarter. Two successive quarters of decline followed, as the index fell to 57.8 and 56.1 in the second and third quarters, respectively. These were the index’s lowest points since 2008, which experts attributed to inflation and rising prices brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Since then, US consumer confidence has mostly risen. The year closed at 58.8, and a 5.8-point increase brought the index to 64.6 in the first quarter of 2023—the highest in more than a year. The index dipped slightly to 62.3 in Q2 2023 and bounced back up to 69.5 in Q3 2023, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2021. In Q4 2023, it decreased to 64.9, some 30 points lower than pre-pandemic numbers, before a 13.5-point surge took the index to 78.4 in Q1 2024, the highest since Q2 2021.

Despite the increase in the first quarter this year, a separate survey tracking consumer sentiment on a monthly basis reveals a sharp fall at the beginning of Q2 2024. This is due to concerns about inflation and a pessimistic outlook on the job market. The survey also indicates that confidence levels have stayed "stable" for consumers with an annual income of less than $50,000, while those earning more have experienced a decline in confidence.

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