Consumer Confidence Plunges in October

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According to The Conference Board, a New York-based business research group, consumer confidence is in shambles. The Consumer Confidence Index was created in 1967, and the current score of 38 is its lowest ever. That's down from a score of 61.4 in September.

"While the current reading may be an overreaction to the bad news in October, it does make clear that consumers understand that we have firmly moved into a recessionary environment and that this slowdown will be the worst in a generation," said Adam York, economic analyst at Wachovia Economics Group.

As such, Web professionals can expect a bumpy road this holiday season and beyond. While slumping consumer confidence and a sagging economy may push some users online to find better deals, we can expect spending overall to take a serious hit. This should also serve as a reminder to do everything possible to entice consumers with special deals or incentives. For instance, even though gas prices have dropped lately, consumers might elect to shop online to save money this shopping season. Therefore, offering shipping deals might be just the incentive consumers need to buy. Other incentives might include layaway programs (check out eLayaway), rebates and coupon codes (read Where Are Consumers Comparison Shopping?). And, if you haven't already, it's time to take a serious look at comparison shopping sites.

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