In our inaugural Branded Trend Tracker, we take the pulse of U.S. consumers’ economic confidence and outlook. We asked our community whether they feel optimistic about their lives, if they feel comfortable taking risks and whether they are saving or spending their extra money. Our Q3 Branded Trend Tracker polled a nationally-representative sample of 2,079 U.S. panelists in August 2017.

Overall, most U.S. consumers are cautiously optimistic. About 33 percent of consumers feel very optimistic about their lives right now. And about 23 percent of consumers feel very confident taking risks in their lives right now.

Our research shows key distinctions in the level of optimism by generation. Millennials (age 21-38) are the most optimistic and risk-loving generation with 42 percent indicating they feel very optimistic about their lives and 37 percent indicating they are confident taking risks their lives. In contrast, Boomers (age 51-69) are the least optimistic generation with 26 percent indicating they feel very optimistic about their lives. Roughly 30 percent of the younger Gen X (age 39-50) and 33 percent of the older Silent Generation (age 70+) indicate they feel very optimistic about their lives.

Percentage of U.S. Consumers Feeling Very Optimistic (Top 2 Box)

Percentage of U.S. Consumers Feeling Very Confident Taking Risks (Top 2 Box)

As consumers get older, they are less inclined to take risks, with 23 percent of Gen X, 13 percent of Boomers and 7 percent of the Silent Generation indicating they are very confident taking risks in their lives right now.

Feelings of optimism influence financial savings and spending habits. Older generations who tend to feel less optimistic and inclined to take risks are most likely to save their spare cash. Roughly 65 percent of the Silent generation and 64 percent of Boomers spend their spare cash. On the other hand, 64 percent of the confident and optimistic Millennial generation spend their spare cash.

Savings and Spending Habits of U.S. Consumers