Not surprisingly, consumer confidence has been shaken significantly by the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s down down 26.6 points from the last measurement in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 66.4 in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI).

New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 22.7 points below the nation’s index of 89.1. All three indexes for New York are below their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance for the first time since December 2011. The national indexes dropped but remain above the breakeven point.

“As the coronavirus took hold of New York, consumer sentiment fell precipitously, signaled a sudden collective feeling of pessimism and reached a low not seen since 2011,” said Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI Founding Director. “A large plurality of consumers now think that the state’s business conditions this year as well as economic times over the coming five years are in trouble.”

“Right now, 58 percent say that it is NOT a good time to buy major consumer items and plans to buy cars, electronics, furniture, homes and home improvements are down between 13 and 27 percent,” Lonnstrom continued. “In 20 years of tracking consumer sentiment in New York, we’ve seen more pessimism but never a drop this severe in this short of a time.”

In the first quarter of 2020, buying plans were down, since the fourth quarter of 2019 measurement, for cars/trucks to 18.8 percent (from 21.6 percent), consumer electronics to 38.6 percent (from 52.4 percent), furniture to 24.2 percent (from 31.0 percent), homes at 8.1 percent (from 11.1 percent), and major home improvements to 19.0 percent (from 25.2 percent).

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