Consumer Sentiment Increases, A Little, Driven by NYC but Remains Down 22 Points from Pre-Pandemic Reality

  • Consumer Sentiment Increases, A Little, Driven by NYC but Remains Down 22 Points from Pre-Pandemic Reality
  • Despite Re-Opening, Pluralities Say They are Worse Off and Expect NYS Economy to Weaken
  • Gas Concerns Hit Lowest Ever; All 6-Month Buying Plans Up but Down From End of 2019

Press Release     Summary Trends     Buying Plans     Gas and Food

Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in the second quarter of 2020 stands at 71.0 up 4.6 points from the last measurement in the first quarter of 2020, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 7.1 points below the nation’s* Index of 78.1. All three indexes for New York are below their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance for the second consecutive quarter. The national indexes dropped but the overall and current remain above the breakeven point while the national future index has also dropped below the breakeven point.

july ics chart

“Driven by gains in both current and future sentiment in NYC, the statewide index recovered nearly five points as New Yorkers try to rebound from this pandemic. The overall index, however, is below the breakeven point and is down 22 points from the end of 2019. Where pluralities of 16-17 points then said they were better off and expected a good year for the state economy, now, under the coronavirus cloud, by 8-14 points they say that they are personally worse off and that the year ahead will be a rocky one for New York State,” according to to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI Founding Director.

In the second quarter of 2020, all buying plans were up from the first quarter of 2020 measurement, for cars/trucks to 19.3% (from 18.8%), consumer electronics to 42.1% (from 38.6%), furniture to 25.3% (from 24.2%), homes at 8.7% (from 8.1%), and major home improvements to 23.0% (from 19.0%). All five buying plans are down between 9 percent (home improvements) to 21 percent (homes) from pre-Coronavirus rates.

Twenty-five percent (down from 27 percent) of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. This is the lowest percentage in the 12-year history of SCRI’s tracking of the impact of gas prices on New York State consumers. Fifty-eight percent (up from 55 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.

ics july 2020

This Siena College Poll was conducted June 28 – July 9, 2020 by random telephone calls to 410 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 400 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers. Respondent sampling via phone was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. The overall results has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.7 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. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (from ASDE Survey Sampler) and cell phone (from Dynata) telephone numbers from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from the telephone and web samples were blended and statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity, gender and party to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, 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 518-783-2362. Survey cross-tabulations and buying plans can be found at