CivicScience continually tracks current and anticipated consumer trends. Here are three key insights marketers should know this week. All insights are derived from the CivicScience Social | Political | Economics | Cultural (SPEC) Report, a weekly report available to clients covering the latest news and insights. Work with us to learn more.

1. Consumers with student loans and wavering confidence in repaying them face significantly higher stress levels.

Following a three-year pause, the Department of Education recently announced federal student loan payments will resume in October. This change looks to have far-reaching impacts from spending to health, as research from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine links higher student debt to a greater risk of cardiovascular and related conditions, and debt also places strain on borrowers’ mental health.

While stress levels have been steadily increasing among the Gen Pop, adults burdened with student loans and who lack confidence in their repayment capabilities are notably more inclined to report feeling stressed. Nearly two-thirds of those ‘not at all confident’ in their ability to resume loan payments admit to experiencing some degree of stress recently, 15 percentage points higher than those who are ‘very confident’ and 11 percentage points higher than the Gen Pop (53%).

Join CivicScience CEO John Dick in a live Webinar Thursday, June 29, for an in-depth look at how the return of student loan payments will impact brands and markets. Start here to learn more and sign up.

2.  Severe concerns over recession hit lowest levels since tracking began in September.

Inflation’s continued downward trajectory recently prompted the Federal Reserve to temporarily halt its interest rate increases, marking the first such pause in over a year – a move well-received by consumers. CivicScience data show those who are ‘very concerned’ about inflation fell 8 percentage points since May 14th to 51%.

In the same vein, recession fears appear to be easing as well. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen predicted that the risks of a recession have gone down due to a robust labor market. CivicScience polling reveals severe recession concern among Americans has fallen to its lowest levels to date (since tracking started last September). The percentage of those ‘very concerned’ that a recession is imminent in the near future has fallen to 37%, down as much as 9 percentage points since September and a more recent drop of 6 points since early May. 

3. Roughly 1 in 4 consumers have had to pay an overdraft fee in the past year; Citibank Customers are most likely to have paid one in the last month.

Recent reports show revenue from overdraft fees fell by an estimated 6% from 2021 to 2022. New CivicScience data show 24% of consumers with checking accounts had to pay an overdraft fee in the past year – including 14% that have made payments within the last month. Moreover, lower-income households are much more likely to say they have had to pay an overdraft fee in the past month. 

Among major national banks, Citibank customers stand out, being 10 percentage points more likely to say that they have incurred an overdraft fee in the past month, surpassing customers of Chase, Bank of America, or Wells Fargo.

Interested in an in-depth look at the data featured on these topics, along with additional consumer insights from this report? Work with us to see how you can gain access to the full SPEC Report every week. Receive a free month of premium content access when you book a meeting.