Consumer Sentiment Continues to Recover; Up 8 Points from March Low

ics2020 shopping sign
  • Still Nearly 20 Points Below Pre-Pandemic High
  • NY’ers Starting to See Better Tomorrow; Future Index Up for Every Demographic
  • Plans to Purchase Homes Skyrocket; Over 12% Shopping for Real Estate; Highest Ever

Press Release     Summary Trends     Buying Plans     Gas and Food

Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in the third quarter of 2020 stands at 74.4 up 3.4 points from the last measurement in the second quarter of 2020, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 6 points below the nation’s* Index of 80.4. All three indexes for New York improved this quarter and are approaching, or in the case of the future index has exceeded, their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance. The national indexes all rose and each remains above the breakeven point.

“While still down nearly 20 points from pre-pandemic levels, the index of consumer sentiment improved this quarter, and now stands just below the balancing point of optimism and pessimism. The future index, a measure of confidence both personal and collective, is up over five points overall and between 8 and 10 points among Republicans, Upstaters and young people. Driven by New York City residents, plans to purchase a new home hit an all time high at nearly 13 percent overall and almost 17 percent among NYC’ers,” according to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI Founding Director.

In the third quarter of 2020, all buying plans were up from the second quarter of 2020 measurement, for cars/trucks to 19.5% (from 19.3%), consumer electronics to 46.6% (from 42.1%), furniture to 27.6% (from 25.3%), homes at 12.6% (from 8.7%), and major home improvements to 26.5% (from 23.0%). Despite increasing, buying plans for cars, electronics and furniture remain down about 10 percent from pre-Coronavirus rates but buying plans for homes (up 13 percent) and home improvements up (5 percent) improved.

Thirty percent (up from 25 percent) of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Fifty-nine percent (up from 58 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.

This Siena College Poll was conducted Aug 20-Sept 29, 2020 by random telephone calls to 402 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 402 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 +/- 3.9 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