Digiday+ Research check-in: Brands know recession is ahead, but are hopeful it will be shallow

shopping laptop

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

Thanksgiving dinner is over, we survived Black Friday shopping and now it’s back to reality: The economy is still in a precarious situation. And brands know this all too well.

Earlier this month, Digiday+ Research checked in with publishers on their attitudes toward a recession and found that there is a lot of pessimism mixed with optimism. Now, it’s brands’ turn. The story for the 75 brand professionals surveyed this fall is a somewhat similar mix of pessimism and optimism — most brand pros believe a recession is coming, but they are mixed on what kind of recession it will be.

Over the summer, 56% of buy-side pros told Digiday that they agreed there would be a recession in the next six months and 67% said they expected a recession in the next 12 months. This fall, that number shot up significantly for brands: 83% of brand respondents to Digiday’s fall survey said they believe we’re entering into a recession.

While brands pretty much agree across the board that there will be a recession, there is a lot less agreement when it comes to what type of recession it will be, Digiday’s survey found.

Brand pros were almost evenly split when they were asked whether they think a recession will be deep or shallow. A majority of respondents said they believe it will be a shallow recession, but not by a large amount. Fifty-eight percent of brand pros told Digiday they believe a recession will be shallow, compared with 42% who said they believe a recession will be deep.

Brands’ opinions on the length of an impending recession were also split. In fact, they also fell into a 58/42 split.

A small majority (58%) of brand pros said they think a recession will be long, Digiday’s survey found. Meanwhile, 42% of brands said they think we are entering into a short recession.

Overall, brands’ mix of pessimism and optimism related to an impending recession looks like this: Brands are pessimistic in that they are sure a recession will occur and many think a recession will be long. But there is slight optimism among brands in that they think a recession will be shallow. We’ll see how economic conditions play out through the holiday shopping season and into 2023.

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