Consumers’ ‘Willingness to Buy’ Strong Despite Political Rhetoric

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Consumers’ ‘Willingness to Buy’ Strong Despite Political Rhetoric
NY Overall Numbers Edge Closer to National; New Yorkers More Optimistic about Future
Concern about Gas Prices Falls to Fewer than 1 in 3
Buying Plans for Consumer Electronics High Heading into Holiday Season

Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in September stands at 88.6 up 0.6 points from the last measurement in June 2016, according to the latest poll by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 2.6 points below the nation’s* Index of 91.2. All three indexes for both the nation and New York are well above their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance indicating strength in the consumer driven marketplace.

“Despite global turmoil and pre-election calls for getting America back on track, consumer sentiment both in New York and nationally remained high and at pre-recession levels. National numbers, both overall and current dipped a few points while New York held steady. But, as we look to the future, New Yorkers were up by over a point, top the nation and have reached the highest level of optimism we’ve seen in almost ten years,” according to Dr. Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI Founding Director.
In September, buying plans were up since the June 2016 measurement for cars/trucks, at 18.1% (from 17.6%), consumer electronics, at 47.6% (from 43.1%), and homes, at 9.1% (from 8.4%). Buying plans were down for furniture, at 27.5% (from 31.0%), and major home improvements, to 16.1% (from 21.9%).

“Buying plans for consumer electronics jumped to nearly 50 percent as we approach the holiday season. Home improvements, strong for over a year, retreated by nearly six points as winter nears. Furniture buying plans fell by close to four points while plans to purchase autos or homes were strong and steady,” Lonnstrom said.

Twenty-nine percent of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Sixty-three 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. Twenty-five percent of state residents say that both gasoline and food prices are having either a somewhat or very serious impact on their finances.

“As gas prices held steady, concern about the effect on the family budget dropped by 4 percentage points to 29 percent. However, this good news was partially offset by worries about food prices that increased by 2 points to 63 percent,” Lonnstrom said.

This Siena College Poll was conducted September 1-30, 2016 by telephone calls conducted in English to 800 New York State residents. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of + 4.2 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting when applied to buying plans and/or the perceived impacts of gas and food prices. As consumer sentiment is expressed as an index number developed after statistical calculations to a series of questions, “margin of error” does not apply to those indices. Sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample provided by Survey Sampling International of landline and cell phone telephone numbers from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data was statistically adjusted by age, region, gender and race/ethnicity to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Doug Lonnstrom at 518-783-2356. Survey cross-tabulations and buying plans can be found at www.siena.edu/sri/cci.

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