Consumer Sentiment in NY Up 3rd Month in a Row
While not Sold on the Future, NY’ers, Happier with the Present, say ‘Great time to buy’
Home Improvement Plans Highest Since ’07; Gas Worries Down; Food Price Concerns Up
Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment increased 2.8 points in June, while the nation’s Index increased 0.6 points, according to the latest poll by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI). At 78.8, New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 3.7 points below the nation’s* Index of 82.5.
In June, buying plans were up for cars/trucks, 1.3 points to 11.8%, consumer electronics, 2.1 points to 34.1%, and major home improvements, 0.6 points to 20.9%. Buying plans were down for furniture, 4.2 points to 19.7%,and homes, 0.8 points to 4.3%.
“Consumer sentiment increased for the third consecutive month in New York, driven mainly by improved attitudes among New York City residents,” according to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI Founding Director. “The overall index, nearly as high as the national measure, is homing in on pre-recession numbers. The increase is not only NYC based, but also grounded more on accepting the present economic realities than on believing that tomorrow will be better.
“New Yorkers remain divided on whether their future financial situation or that of the overall marketplace will improve over the next year, but a growing number now say that their lot has improved over the past twelve months. Overwhelmingly, residents say that now is a great time to buy major household items – a telltale indicator of both perceived value and current confidence.”
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.
In order to more accurately measure consumers’ intent to purchase the entire family of goods including not only computers but also cell phones, television and tablets, in July 2013 SRI changed the wording of this one buying plan from “computers” to “consumer electronics like personal computers, cellphones, televisions and tablets”. While this move sacrifices the trend lines associated with computers only, the long-term benefit of polling on consumer electronics justifies the change.
“At nearly twenty-one percent, plans to make major home improvements were at their highest level since April 2007 and about six points higher than they were two years ago. This groundswell of intent to fix the homestead is another indication of current economic strengthening coinciding with reasonable supply.
“Despite publicity about gas prices jumping of late and anticipated summer price increases, in June concern over petrol prices fell by four points. But the proverbial other hand slapped consumers at the grocery store as the financial pinch of feeding the family rose by an identical four points,” Dr. Lonnstrom said.
Gas and Food Price Analysis
Fifty-four percent of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Sixty-eight 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-six 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 June 2014 by random telephone calls to 628 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 + 3.9 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.