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Latest EDC Survey Shows Declining Consumer Sentiment

Mike McGovern | Dec 20, 2022

A majority of Lancaster County residents are not feeling optimistic about the economy, according to an Economic Development Company of Lancaster County (EDC) survey taken in November 2022. A consumer sentiment survey can be a valuable tool for governments and businesses, often serving as a leading indicator for future economic activity.

The survey uncovered that negative sentiment and uncertainty in the County about how long prices will continue to rise could lead to people holding back on spending – especially on large purchases. The survey also suggested that lower household spending is on our horizon.

Here are a few highlights from the report for you to consider as you plan for 2023.

Consumer Sentiment Numbers (Nov. 2022)

  • Consumer sentiment dipped to 69.4 in November 2022 – 3.5 points lower than in September 2022. For comparison, average consumer sentiment in the County was 81.2 from 2020-21.
  • Lancaster County’s sentiment score is still 12.6 points higher than the national score.
  • Most respondents (74%) anticipate price increases to continue, underscoring the uncertainty over how long consumer spending will remain positive in the face of inflationary pressure.


Key Takeaways from the Survey

Consumer Behavior Looks Similar to The Great Recession of 2008
“Since the start of this year, ongoing apprehension over inflation and uncertainty around the timing of when the economy will normalize have caused the measure to plummet in both local and national polling, falling to levels reflective of the lows experienced during the Great Recession of 2008.”

A Majority Believe Now Is a Bad Time for Large Household Purchases
“Unease about the possibility of an upcoming economic slowdown and frustrations over economic policies were also concerns weighing on household attitudes; 68% of respondents believe that now is a bad time to make large household purchases.”

Personal Finances Have Worsened for Many Folks
“A growing share (49%) of County households indicate that their personal finances have worsened compared to a year ago.”

Source: Lancaster County Consumer Sentiment, November 30, 2022