COLONIE — Consumers are somewhat more optimistic in the second quarter of 2020, according to a state Index of Consumer Sentiment survey by the Siena College Research Institute released on Wednesday, July 15 but remain much more pessimistic than last year, before the pandemic.
The index stands at 71, up 4.6 points from the last measurement in March, but 7.1 points lower than the national average of 78.1 and is below the optimism and pessimism balance for the second consecutive quarter.
Last June, the consumer sentiment index was 87.1. In November it soared to 93. In March, 2020, as the pandemic uncertainties were ripping around the globe, it was 66.4.
“Driven by gains in both current and future sentiment in New York City, the statewide index recovered nearly five points as New Yorkers try to rebound from this pandemic,” said Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI founding director. “The overall index, however, is below the breakeven point and is down 22 points from the end of 2019.”
In a positive economic sign, compared to the first quarter of 2020, consumers were planning to make more major purchases in the second quarter.
- 19.3 percent were planning to purchase a vehicle, up from 18.8 percent
- 42.1 percent were planning to purchase consumer electronics, up from 38.6 percent
- 25.3 percent were planning to purchase furniture, up from 24.2 percent
- 8.7 percent were planning to purchase a home, up from 8.1 percent
- 23 percent were planning on making major home improvements, up from 21 percent
All five buying plans, though, were down from pre-Covid-19, between 9 percent for home improvement and 21 percent for the planned purchase of homes.
A quarter of New Yorkers, down slightly from 27 percent, think current gasoline prices are having a serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, the lowest percentage in the 12-year history of SCRI’s tracking of its impact on consumers.
But, 58 percent, up from 55 percent, of state residents indicate the amount of money they spend on groceries is having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their finances.
The poll was conducted from June 28 through July 9 buy random phone calls to 410 New Yorkers via landline and cell phones. It carries a +/- margin of error of 3.7 percent.