A new survey shows the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt consumer confidence across New York state a severe blow.
New York consumer sentiment has taken a direct hit in the days and weeks since coronavirus cases began popping up in the state. According to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute, the New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in the first quarter of 2020 stands was 66.4, down 26.6 points from the last measurement in the fourth quarter of 2019. New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 22.7 points below the nation’s Index of 89.1. Siena's Doug Lonnstrom:
"Upshot of all of this is everyone has gotten crushed, whether it's the nation or New York state. Everything is down, and checking a few cases, Republicans and high-income are still a little bit above average. But the rest of us are now in pessimistic territory."
Lonnstrom says buying plans are down in the first quarter of 2020, as comapred agianst the fourth quarter of 2019, for cars and trucks to 18.8% (from 21.6%), consumer electronics to 38.6% (from 52.4%), furniture to 24.2% (from 31.0%), homes at 8.1% (from 11.1%), and major home improvements to 19.0% (from 25.2%).
"So last quarter, everybody was optimistic. This quarter almost everybody is pessimistic, doesn't matter whether New York City, upstate, downstate, Democrat, young, old, male, female, low-income. Everybody has gotten crushed. Index numbers are down anywhere from 15 points for older New Yorkers, females, and 44 points for women in current index. So it's a big spread. Everybody's down. The nation dropped 10 points. New York state dropped 27 points."
Lonnstrom says the gloom could linger. Asked "how do you think businesses will do in the next five years," the majority responded negagtively.
"A couple of good highlights: concern about gas prices is way down, nobody's driving anymore. OK, so it dropped from 41% being worried about gas prices hurting the budget, that's now down to 27. For older New Yorkers that's down 10% from 28%. So the older people clearly are staying at home. Food prices, a little bit of a drop from a concern of 58% hurting the budget, down to 55. Again, the older people are in the better category, about 40% of them still feel prices are are hurting.”
Lonnstrom says while people are feeling bad right now, they are optimistic looking farther ahead into the future.
This Siena College Poll was conducted March 30-April 2, 2020 by random telephone calls to 402 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 +/- 3.6 percentage points,