In the News

WHAT THE DATA SAY: Half of us are "cash stuffing" to curb spending

By: Ray Day


Ray Day 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking (fielded Apr. 28-30):


Today, 88% of Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation – up 1 point from last week and higher than December’s 82% rate.

    • 83% worry about U.S. crime rates (down 2 points from last week)
    • 82% about a potential U.S. recession (up 2 points)
    • 76% about political divisiveness (up 2 points)
    • 75% about affording my living expenses (up 5 points)
    • 70% about the War on Ukraine (down 1 point)
    • 58% about a new COVID-19 variant (up 3 points)
    • 53% about losing their jobs (up 8 points)

While the world is going digital, inflation is helping cash stage a comeback. In our survey with Credit Karma, 53% of adults in the U.S. (up 19 points) and 46% in the UK (up 4 points) say they are using cash more now than a year ago.

    • A key reason: 3 in 5 people say using physical money makes them spend less.
    • The cash trend is especially strong among young people: 69% of Gen Z report using cash more now than 12 months ago – compared with 47% of Gen X and 37% of Boomers.
    • 23% of Gen Z say they use cash for the majority of their purchases. Groceries (50%), clothing (46%), nonessentials like coffee and other one-off purchases (40%) and takeout (40%) are the top categories for Gen Z’s cash payments.
    • Of Gen Z who use cash to pay for purchases, 59% say they do so as a way to budget their money, and 64% say they spend less money when they pay with cash.
    • The “cash-stuffing” trend is being bolstered by TikTok videos featuring financial hacks like separating cash into different envelopes for different expenses.
    • Cash stuffing is on the radar of 72% of Gen Z and used by 30%.

Young adults and physicians continue to see the country struggling with mental health, but most Americans aren’t seeking care, according to our survey with CVS Health.

    • 60% of those ages 18-32 say they are concerned about their mental health.
    • 67% say they know people in their community struggling with mental health issues.
    • 56% of physicians report declining mental health among patients.
    • Yet only 12% of Americans regularly see a mental health professional like a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist or well-being therapist.
    • 58% of those ages 18-32 report that social media has negatively affected their mental health, compared with 22% of those ages 57+.

The vast majority (83%) of the nation’s behavioral health workforce believes that, without public policy changes, provider organizations won’t be able to meet the demand for mental health or substance use treatment and care in the U.S. The National Council for Wellbeing survey also warns of a potential exodus of behavioral health workers due to burnout.

    • 79% agree judicial courts don’t provide equal justice to all.
    • 58% say they know someone who had been treated unfairly in court – higher among Black (79%) and Hispanic (68%) Americans.
    • 43% would prefer an AI judge rather than a human one.
    • A majority believe AI could prevent long waits for court hearings (62%), counter human error and bias (60%), and provide more equitable sentences (59%).
    • 8 in 10 believe our judicial system needs to change to provide unbiased justice to all, including 88% of Democrats and 72% of Republicans.

When it comes to gender inequity in corporate America, women – especially women of color – express frustration at all levels of the organizational chart and believe the pace of change is much too slow, according to our 2023 Milken Institute-Harris Poll Listening Project. In its fourth year, the survey examines global socioeconomic, institutional and political barriers. We surveyed executive women in the Milken Institute Executive Circle and employed American women ages 22 to 41.

    • 90% of Gen Z/Millennial working women say they face challenges that impede their careers, including lack of career development, mentorship and sponsorship.
    • Executive women say their three biggest frustrations regarding gender equity include lack of career development opportunities; being overlooked for promotions; lacking mentorship and sponsorship; lacking opportunities to prove themselves; and not seeing anyone they want to be above them at their companies.
    • See the full report here.

In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:



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