National Confidence Now 10 Points Higher than NY; Sentiment among Women, Upstaters & Young Fall Hardest
Current Outlook Much Weaker in NY than Nation; Long-term Hopes Wilting From Summer Heat
More than a Third of NY’ers Plan to Purchase Consumer Electronics in Next Six Months
Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment decreased 3.3 points in July, while the nation’s Index increased 1.0 points, according to the latest poll by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI). At 75.4, New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 9.7 points below the nation’s* Index of 85.1.
In July, buying plans were up for cars/trucks, 1.1 points to 14.7%, and homes, 0.5 points to 4.6%. Buying plans were down for furniture, 3.7 points to 20.9% and major home improvements, 2.3 points to 17.3%. SRI has this month stopped asking respondents about their intent to purchase ‘computers’ and changed to asking about ‘consumer electronics’ like a personal computer, cellphone, television or tablet. While intent to purchase computers has of late been approximately 15 to 17%, we find in this first reading, New Yorkers intend to purchase consumer electronics over the next six months at a rate of 35.5%.
“National confidence, up slightly, is now ten points greater than in New York as sentiment slipped by over three points in the Empire State,” according to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI Founding Director. “Women, Upstaters and younger consumers fell sharply this month despite a strong showing on Wall Street. Persistent slow job growth and economic uncertainty remain the culprits. Nationally, the current outlook is nineteen points higher than it is in New York as more New Yorkers continue to say ‘what recovery’ compared to those surveyed across the country.”
Each month since January 1999, the SRI survey establishes an Index for Consumer Sentiment for New York State consumers. This index allows a direct comparison of New Yorkers to all Americans (“the nation”) as surveyed by the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. The SRI survey measures current and future consumer sentiment, which combined provides the overall consumer sentiment. SRI also looks at confidence in New York State by region (metro New York City and Upstate), age, income, gender and party.
“With a change in one question, we really got a different answer. New Yorkers, despite some softening of consumer confidence, plan to purchase consumer electronics including not only computers but also cellphones, televisions and tablets in droves over the next six months. Over one-third will add a new technology item. Many of these items, of course, are less expensive than cars or homes but consumer electronics will both fuel some economic activity and satisfy some consumer desire at the same time.
“After two months of declining worry about gas prices, concern went up slightly this month. On the other hand, concern about food prices continued to drop from 70 percent in April to 65 percent now,” according to Dr. Lonnstrom.
Gas and Food Price Analysis
Fifty-seven percent of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Sixty-five percent of state residents indicate that the amount of money they spend on groceries is having either a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their finances. Forty-nine percent of state residents say that both gasoline and food prices are having either a somewhat or very serious impact on their finances.
The SRI Index of Consumer Sentiment was conducted in July 2013 by random telephone calls to 808 New York State residents over the age of 18. As consumer sentiment is expressed as an index number developed after statistical calculations to a series of questions, “margin of error” does not apply. Buying plans, which are shown as a percentage based on answers to specific questions, do have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 points. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, at 518-783-2362. Survey cross-tabulations and buying plans can be found at www.siena.edu/sri/cci. SRI is an independent, non-partisan research institute. SRI subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Code of Professional Ethics and Practices.