Consumer Sentiment Up; Highest Since Pandemic Hit

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  • NY, especially NYC, Optimistic About Future as COVID-19 Relief Package Takes Effect
  • As Gas Prices Increase So Does Concern; Home Improvement Plans Reach New Record

Press Release     Summary Trends     Buying Plans     Gas and Food

Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in the first quarter of 2021 stands at 82.5 up 7.7 points from the last measurement in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 2.4 points below the nation’s* Index of 84.9. All three indexes for New York rose this quarter with the current index approaching breakeven, and the overall and future indexes exceeding their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance. The national indexes all increased but New Yorkers remain more optimistic about future economic conditions than the nation as a whole.

summary of march ics 21

“Both New York, and the nation, saw consumer sentiment increase over the first quarter, and both reached highs not seen since the coronavirus pandemic began. Still, despite showing encouraging optimism, sentiment is not back to where it was prior to March of 2020. New Yorkers in general match the nation’s level of growing economic optimism while New York City residents are far rosier about the future. Increasing gasoline prices are driving pump-price concerns higher, while increasing vaccinations and stimulus checks may be responsible for a new record high percentage – 31 percent – of state residents planning home improvements this spring,” according to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI Founding Director.

ics march 2021 vs nation

In the first quarter of 2021, buying plans were up from the fourth quarter of 2020 measurement for furniture to 32.0% (from 29.7%) and major home improvements to 31.1% (from 27.5%). Buying plans were down for car/truck to 17.8% (from 20.7%), consumer electronics at 47.1% (from 49.6%), and homes to 10.0% (from 13.4%).

Forty-three percent (up from 34 percent) of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Fifty-seven percent (unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2020) 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.

gas food chart mar 21

This Siena College Poll was conducted March 1-8, 2021 by random telephone calls to 400 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 +/- 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. 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