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What is the Consumer Confidence Index? Who produces it?

The Conference Board (U.S.) is a global, independent membership organization which provides information about management and the marketplace in order to help businesses improve their performance.

Since 1967 the Conference Board has produced the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI). The CCI is now released on a monthly basis and provides a snapshot of consumer optimism largely as it relates to retail purchases. This monthly survey is based on information collected from 5000 households about their attitudes on the state of the economy and their short term plans to purchase large-ticket items such as appliances, automobiles and houses. The survey results are organized by geographic region, age of respondent and household income.

The Conference Board of Canada releases a similar monthly index called the Index of Consumer Attitudes (ICA). Begun in 1960, the ICA focuses on the level of short-term consumer optimism regarding the economy. The ICA consists of four questions:

  • Considering everything, would you say that your family is better or worse off financially than six months ago?
  • Again, considering everything, do you think that your family will be better off, the same, or worse off financially six months from now?
  • How do you feel the job situation and overall employment will be in this community six months from now?
  • Do you think that right now is a good or bad time for the average person to make a major outlay for items such as a home, car or other major item?

The ever-shifting results of the CCI and the ICA provide another planning tool for the corporate sector in predicting consumer behavior and its impact on their business.