2024-04-02_CSC Blog Post—Consumer Confidence and Spending

Consumer Confidence and Spending: How Impact Smaller Businesses More

As the owner of a small business, you may think the goings on in Washington, D.C. are far removed from your day-to-day operation—but you’d be wrong, especially when it comes to the effect raising the debt ceiling can have on your chances for continued success. The debt ceiling was last raised in June 2023 after lengthy political discourse to ensure the U.S. wouldn’t default on the federal government’s debt; it was suspended until 2025 in the hope of assuring financial stability during a presidential election year.


How does this affect you and your small business? Uncertainty surrounding the debt ceiling can create apprehension among consumers that leads to changes in their spending behavior—changes that reflect reduced consumer confidence and thus less consumer spending.


Reduced Consumer Confidence

The media has a huge effect on how confident consumers feel about spending their hard-earned money. When they see uncertain economic conditions as one of the top stories day after day after day, their concerns about the stability of the economy as a whole and their own financial well-being are heightened—and as a result they may tighten up their pocketbooks, so to speak, especially when it comes to discretionary spending. The impact of this behavior can be decidedly negative for smaller businesses.


Decreased Consumer Spending 

When consumers don’t have confidence about the economy, it often results in some personal belt-tightening for non-essential items. This can have a big impact on smaller businesses, especially those operating in sectors like retail, hospitality and leisure that depend significantly on consumer demand to drive revenue and profitability. Less spending by consumers is apt to lead to fewer sales and less revenue—and thus a decline in cash flow—while the cost for sustaining operations and meeting financial obligations doesn’t correspondingly go down. That’s a bad combination for a smaller business.


Other Impacts of the Debt Ceiling on Businesses

While reduced consumer confidence and decreased consumer spending are two of the most impactful things that can happen as a result of debt ceiling concerns, there are also other repercussions from such uncertainty for small businesses, including:

  • Impact on revenue and profitability—A reduction in sales may make it challenging for small businesses to cover fixed costs like rent, utilities and wages, something that can lead to a drop in profitability and make the business vulnerable.
  • Business adaptation challenges—Smaller businesses tend to find it harder to adapt to consumer spending declines due to limited resources and flexibility, something that can lead to long-term consequences for their growth and even survival.
  • Ripple effect on supply chains—Smaller businesses are often part of complex supply chains, so when their suppliers, manufacturers and service providers are negatively affected by a decline in consumer spending, that’s bound to have a ripple effect that affects the revenue and stability of all interconnected businesses.


The Bottom Line

Unlike their larger counterparts, small businesses are likely to be more greatly affected when something like issues with the debt ceiling makes consumers feel less confident about the economy as a whole or their own ability to make discretionary purchases. However, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your business. Not having funds on hand to ensure you can get through a tough period should never be a reason to stagnate. There are plenty of options available to secure the funding you need to ensure your small business survives and even thrives.

Clear Skies Capital has helped many small businesses determine the business loan that’s best for them and get the financing they need in a timely fashion. Contact us today at 800-230-9822 to discuss your business’s needs.