The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index dropped to 91.2 in March from a final reading of 95.4 in February, missing expectations for an increase to 95.6.
The Surveys of Consumers chief economist at the University of Michigan Richard Curtin said that the decline was a result of lower optimism among lower and middle income households, while confidence rose among households with incomes in the top third.
Mr Curtin added that "despite the small temporary setbacks, the overall level of consumer confidence remains favorable enough to support 3.3 percent growth rate in personal consumption expenditures during 2015".
A gauge of consumers' current economic conditions dropped to 103.0 in March from 106.9 in February.
The index of consumer expectations declined to 83.7 from 88.0.
The one-year inflation expectations in March climbed to 3.0% from 2.8% in February.