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Consumer sentiments toward marketing are improving

by Dennis Brown, Notre Dame News and Information

June 1, 2005

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American consumers have some mild misgivings about marketing practices, but their overall sentiments have improved over time, according to the latest results in a long-term study conducted by two University of Notre Dame marketing professors.

Michael Etzel, professor of marketing, and John Gaski, associate professor, have tracked consumer sentiment every year since 1984 using a 20-item survey they created and administered in cooperation with the Synovate (formerly Market Facts) polling organization.

Their research finds steady and significant improvement in consumer attitudes toward the practice of marketing, though there remains a mildly negative outlook. When incorporating secondary data from the 1970s, the authors find a similar positive trend over a 30-year period.

The Notre Dame-Synovate Index of Consumer Sentiment Toward Marketing also found that the positive perceptions of marketing rise with lower inflation and personal saving.

“As consumers save less and spend more, they apparently are happier with marketing outputs,” Gaski said.

Additional analysis found the consumer approval highest for retailing and product quality, with lower approval for advertising and prices.

The study was published in the March issue of Journal of Consumer Research.