Consumer Sentiment Continues to Recover; Up 8 Points from March

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But Still Nearly 20 Points Below Pre-Pandemic High


Consumer sentiment is recovering though much uncertainty lies ahead given the pandemic’s grip on the nation and no clear understanding as to the availability of a vaccine.

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).

However, and not surprisingly, 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.


National data compiled by the U. of Michigan shows points above/below breakeven point at which sentiment is balanced.

“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.


Plans to Purchase Homes Skyrocket; Over 12% Shopping for Real Estate; Highest Ever

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, forcars/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.