Regional Consumers Made Major Purchases, Planning More

Friday, November 25 at 08:30 AM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey shows spending plans continue to rise.

 FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Consumers in the Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma region said they have made major household purchases in the last six months and plan to make at least one more major purchase in the next six months, according to final information released today from the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey. 

Those are among the more noticeable findings from the third installment of the Fall 2016 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released today. This installment is the final piece of the survey, conducted in March and including Greater Kansas City, and focuses on consumers’ attitudes and behaviors concerning spending, saving and debt.

Most notably, 35 percent of regional respondents indicate that they plan to make major purchases in the next six months, compared with 34 percent in March. The percentage of respondents who report they had made a major household purchase in the past six months rose from 39 percent to 40 percent. Among the remaining 65 percent who do not plan such major purchases in the next six months, 20 percent reported they were waiting for the right time to buy, while 80 percent said they had no plans to buy at all. Major household purchases were defined as furniture, televisions, refrigerators and other large items.

“Consumers may be looking forward to the holiday season with an eye toward buying presents, while continuing household updates they may have been putting off from early in the economic recovery,” Arvest Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “They seem to be feeling a bit more confident in their personal economies, as their increasing spending plans and slight decrease in current savings rates seem to indicate.”

This was particularly noticeable in Arkansas and Missouri.

“This is the highest level of purchase expectations (in Arkansas) since the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey began,” said Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and lead economist for the survey.

David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University, said households in his state “are more optimistic about long-run prospects than they were at this point last year.”

Those feelings were more tempered in Oklahoma, which has been dealing with the effects of a lingering slump in the energy sector.

“As we move into the holiday season, both retailers and governments that rely on the sales tax base for general revenue funds will be watching Oklahoma consumers closely to see just how large of a purchase they will make and just how long they intend to wait before doing so,” said Russell Evans, executive director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University.

The percent of respondents who reported having no current consumer debt was 28 percent, up from 22 percent in March. Consumer debt within the region was divided among several categories – mortgage, home equity, auto, credit cards and student loans. In the region overall, more consumers reported having consumer debt in particular categories, with increases in auto loans, which grew from 33 to 35 percent, and credit cards, up from 41 to 44 percent. Student loans remained steady at 21 percent.

When looking at the current savings rate, consumers within the region reported they are saving 13.9 percent of their earnings, which is lower than the 15.8 percent from the previous survey. The overall savings rate for Arkansas is 13.4 percent, while Missouri is at 16.3 percent and Oklahoma 14.1 percent.

The percent of respondents across the region who plan on increasing their rate of savings has risen from 22 to 26 percent since the spring survey.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 random online and telephone surveys.

With each study, the Consumer Sentiment Survey Index score will be released first, followed by a second release on consumer outlook, including the Current Conditions Index and the Consumer Expectations Index, which are sub-indexes of the Consumer Sentiment Survey Index.

Arvest Bank’s sponsorship of this survey is due to its desire to provide beneficial data for its customers and communities. The data provides a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where the bank operates. Because consumers drive the majority of economic activity, it is important to simply know where people in the state stand in their views. 

Information about the survey and research partners, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

Data released as part of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, summary and news releases is free for broadcast, publication or use in presentations. Please cite “Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey” as the source each time information is referenced.

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, Debt, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release, Savings
 

Consumers Remain Positive about Personal Finances, Buying Plans

Thursday, November 03 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest-backed survey reveals increase in respondents' long-range outlook.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma are more optimistic that their personal financial situation will improve within the next year than they indicated in the previous survey conducted earlier this year. More than half of those surveyed also continue to believe the next six months will be a good time to purchase major household items.

These observations are found in the second phase of the Fall 2016 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, which was conducted in August and released today. This phase includes a study of consumers’ outlooks on personal finances, buying conditions over the next six months, and business conditions over the next year and the next five years.

Overall results indicate 87 percent of the respondents in the three-state area, including Greater Kansas City, expect their personal financial situation to improve or remain the same during the next 12 months. That’s down one percentage point from the survey in March, but still overwhelmingly positive.

Specifically, consumers showed improved confidence in their personal financial situation, with 40 percent of respondents expecting improvement during the next 12 months. That’s up from 38 percent in March. Those who expect their situation to remain the same fell from 50 percent to 47 percent.

More than half – 55 percent – of those surveyed, expect the next six months to be a good time to buy household items such as furniture, televisions and refrigerators. That’s up from 53 percent in March.

“Consumers in the region are responding to the good economic news we have been seeing reported throughout the country, which sometimes takes a short while to be reflected locally,” Arvest Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “As we see how that sentiment has increased in the region, we can be ready to help our customers with consumer loans or future financial planning.”

Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and lead economist for the survey, continued to credit growth in the state’s labor force and a decline in unemployment for the record uptick in Arkansas.

“For the first time since the beginning of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index, Arkansas consumers expressed more optimism about the future than their national counterparts. High sentiment readings were recorded for all three components of the expectations index, indicating high hopes about future personal financial conditions, shorter-term business conditions and longer-term business conditions,” Deck said.

In Missouri, David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University, said although Missouri consumers consider themselves better off than they were last year, they have not basically changed in their opinion of the future.

“The number of people who found themselves better off a year ago is roughly the same for late 2015 and 2016 — the number of households that are worse off compared with a year ago is up in late 2016 compared to late 2015,” Mitchell added.

Russell Evans, director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University, said Oklahomans are cautious but looking to manage through tough economic situations.

“Oklahomans expressed cautious optimism about the future, indicating hope that their ability to manage personal finances in the year ahead and a long run of improvement to economic activity would offset what they expect to be uncertain to rough economic conditions in the year ahead,” Evans said.

When looking at expectations of business conditions in the next year, regional respondents were both more optimistic and, in one case, more pessimistic, with the percent of respondents who are “uncertain” about business conditions declining from 47 percent in March to 37 percent in August. The percentage of respondents who expect business conditions to be favorable increased from 24 percent to 32 percent. Those who expect business conditions to be bad in the next 12 months increased from 28 percent to 30 percent.

Expectations of business conditions in the next five years were more positive than in March, with 43 percent of those surveyed anticipating good times, up two percentage points.

This round of survey results also includes a Current Conditions Sub-Index and a Consumer Expectations Sub-Index, which follows the model of the national Thomson/Reuters Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

These sub-indexes are meaningful in comparison to national indexes or to previous values of Arvest Consumer Sentiment indexes. Higher numbers indicate some combination of consumer satisfaction with their current and expected personal finances, current and expected economic performance, and the purchasing environment. Larger increases indicate more confidence across the three areas.

The Current Conditions Sub-Index is tabulated from the answers to two questions on the survey: “How is your current financial situation compared to a year ago?” and “What do you think of buying conditions over the next six months?” The Current Conditions Sub-Index for the region was 91.0 in August, up from 90.3 in March. 

The Consumer Expectations Sub-Index is tabulated from the answers to three survey questions: “How do you expect your financial situation to change in the next year?”, “How do you think business conditions will be in a year?” and “How do you expect business conditions will be in five years?” The regional Consumer Expectations Sub-Index rose from 78.9 to 82.1. 

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with the University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducting 1,200 random online and telephone surveys.

Arvest Bank’s sponsorship of this survey is due to its desire to provide beneficial data for its customers and communities. The data provides a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where the bank operates.

The Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University provides state analysis of the Missouri data. The Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, evaluates the data for Oklahoma.

The survey is conducted twice a year. With each study, the index score is released first, followed by a second release on consumer outlook, including the Current Conditions Index and the Consumer Expectations Index, and a third release on savings and spending expectations.

Information about the survey and research partners, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

Data released as part of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, summary and news releases is free for broadcast, publication or use in presentations. Please cite “Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey” as the source each time information is referenced.

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, Kansas City, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release
 

Regional Economic Sentiment Closer to National Mark

Thursday, October 13 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

Survey shows three states more confident in August.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The region that includes Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma reported an improved consumer opinion on the economy from March 2016 to August 2016, but it remains lower than the national consumer sentiment index, according to the Fall 2016 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released today.

The current regional index for Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri – including Greater Kansas City – is 85.6, up from March’s index of 83.4. This regional index score marks the highest regional index recorded since the inception of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Index from a beginning reading of 71.4 in the Spring of 2014. The national index was 89.8 for August, down from 90.0 in March, as reported by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan. 

All of the three states included in the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey reported increases in overall consumer sentiment; Arkansas from 84.9 in March to 86.7; Missouri from 83.9 to 88.3; and Oklahoma from 81.3 to 82.1. 

Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Arkansas and the lead economist for the survey, said although the region’s consumers remain less optimistic about economic conditions than their national counterparts, the difference narrowed in late 2016.

“In particular, even respondents who indicated current tough times were generally positive about their expected financial situation a year from now and noted that current buying conditions were attractive,” Deck said. 

David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University, said Missourians’ “confidence in the economy has improved greatly” and looks forward to seeing if their sentiment continues to climb.

The continued gap in sentiment in Oklahoma, meanwhile, “is not unexpected as the state’s economy continues to struggle to fill the economic void left by disappearing oil and gas activity,” according to Russell Evans, director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University.

The differing levels of enthusiasm across the region reflected the various structures of each states’ economies, particularly in relation to their dependence on employment in the energy sector.

“Again, this survey shows the region has positive movement and all three states are relatively close to each other with the overall sentiment of the region remaining relatively close to the national index,” Arvest Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “The major differences we see coincide with low retail gasoline prices that reflect well on consumer pocketbooks but has some inhibiting factors in Oklahoma, which relies heavily on the energy and fuel sectors for its economic wellbeing.”

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the CBER in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 random phone and online surveys. CBER, Missouri State University and Oklahoma City University provided state data analysis.

The survey is conducted twice a year. With each study, the index score is released first, followed by additional information regarding specifics of consumer outlook for the near future and plans for savings and spending.

Information about the survey, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at: www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Biz, Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, Kansas City, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release
 

Regional Consumers Planning Major Purchases, Increase Savings

Thursday, June 30 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey measures respondents' spending and savings.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Consumers in the Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma region said they have plans to both make major household purchases in the next six months and to increase their household savings rate, according to final information released today from the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey. 

Those are among the more noticeable findings from the third installment of the Spring 2016 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released today. This installment is the final piece of the survey, conducted in March and including Greater Kansas City, and focuses on consumers’ attitudes and behaviors concerning spending, saving and debt.

“It appears consumers are continuing a trend that started last year, that of small increases in making major purchases and taking on slightly more consumer debt,” Arvest Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “But an increasing percentage of consumers have expressed a desire to increase their savings rate even after we have seen savings rates steadily going up over the past two years. So although consumers are feeling confident enough to start spending and accumulate more consumer debt, they are keeping an eye on the future by building a savings cushion between themselves and changes in the economy.”

Most notably, 34 percent of regional respondents indicate they plan to make major purchases in the next six months, compared with 28 percent in September. The percentage of respondents who report they made a major household purchase in the past six months rose from 38 to 39 percent. Among the remaining 66 percent who do not plan such major purchases in the next six months, 19 percent of those reported they were waiting for the right time to buy while 81 percent said they had no plans to buy at all. Major household purchases were defined as furniture, a television, refrigerator or other large items.

In Arkansas, Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and lead economist for the survey, said, “With gas prices and interest rates remaining low and incomes rising, Arkansans were most positive about the idea that buying conditions are at an attractive level right now.”

David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University, said similar things about Missourians.

“Although consumers’ outlook for the economy in the very near term might have appeared somewhat ambiguous,” Mitchell said, “they clearly see a brighter picture in the long term as evidenced by their desire to make purchases and acquire credit.”

Consumer debt within the region was divided among several categories – mortgage, home equity, auto, credit cards and student loans. In the region overall, more consumers reported having consumer debt of some kind, with increases in auto loans (from 32 percent in September to 33 percent in March), credit cards (from 40 percent to 41 percent), and student loans (from 14 percent to 21 percent). The percent of respondents who reported having no current consumer debt dropped from 27 percent to 22 percent. 

When looking at the savings rate, regional consumers reported they are saving 15.8 percent of their earnings, up from 13.6 percent in the previous survey. The overall savings rate for Arkansas is 16.4 percent, while Missouri is at 16.0 percent and Oklahoma 15.1 percent.

The majority of regional respondents, 68 percent, expect to maintain their current savings rate over the next six months and 22 percent expect to increase their savings rate. Only 10 percent expect to decrease their savings rate over the same time period.

In Oklahoma, a state largely dependent on the energy industry, economist Russell Evans said increased savings rates make sense.

“A hesitance to spend and notion to save are consistent with expressed expectations for a challenging present and uncertain future,” said Evans, executive director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the CBER, which also evaluates the Arkansas data, with the University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducting 1,200 random phone and online surveys.

The survey is conducted twice a year, with the next results expected to be released in October. With each study, the Consumer Sentiment Survey Index score will be released first, followed by a second release on consumer outlook, including the Current Conditions Index and the Consumer Expectations Index, which are sub-indexes of the Consumer Sentiment Survey Index.

Arvest Bank’s sponsorship of this survey, which follows the model of the national Survey of Consumers produced by the University of Michigan, is due to its desire to provide beneficial data for its customers and communities. The data provides a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where the bank operates. Additionally, with future results, consumers, as well as the business community, will be able to see how sentiment is trending.

The Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University provides state analysis of the Missouri data. The Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, evaluates the data for Oklahoma.

Information about the survey and research partners, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

Data released as part of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, summary and news releases is free for broadcast, publication or use in presentations. Please cite “Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey” as the source each time information is referenced.

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, Debt, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release, Savings
 

Consumers Positive about Personal Finances, Purchasing Plans

Thursday, June 09 at 08:35 AM
Category: Personal Finance

 Arvest-backed survey reveals slight decrease in respondents' long-range outlook.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma are more optimistic that their personal financial situation will improve within the next year than in the previous survey conducted last year. More than half of those surveyed also continue to believe the next six months will be a good time to purchase major household items.

These observations are found in the second phase of the Spring 2016 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, which was conducted in March and released today. This phase includes a study of consumers’ outlooks on personal finances, buying conditions over the next six months, and business conditions over the next year and the next five years.

Overall results indicate 88 percent of the respondents in the three-state area, including Greater Kansas City, expect their personal financial situation to remain the same or improve over the next 12 months, up one percentage point from the survey in September.

Specifically, consumers showed improved confidence in their personal financial situation, with 38 percent of respondents expecting improvement in that regard over the next 12 months. That’s up five percentage points from the 33 percent reported in September. Those who expect their situation to remain the same fell from 54 percent to 50 percent.

More than half – 53 percent – of those surveyed, expect the next six months to be a good time to buy household items such as furniture, televisions and refrigerators. That’s down from 55 percent in September.

“It is fascinating to watch consumers’ confidence grow in relation to the good economic news we had been accustomed to seeing reported around the country,” Arvest Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “Many may have been waiting a while to replace or upgrade major consumer products in their homes until they felt more confident in the region’s economy. Now, by tracking how that sentiment has increased, we can be ready to assist them with those major purchases through consumer loans or strategic savings strategies.”

Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and lead economist for the survey, credited growth in the state’s labor force and a decline in unemployment for the uptick in Arkansas.

“Arkansans reported particular strength in their outlook for their personal finances, which bodes well for retail sales and tax collections in the state,” Deck said.

In Missouri, David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University, said relative weakness in the stock market has made consumers more uncertain about the future.

“It is also likely that continued political uncertainty is having an effect,” Mitchell added.

Russell Evans, director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University, blamed “adverse economic headlines” for stronger uncertainty in his state.

“Any improvement in local economic activity that would give rise to nascent state optimism will likely have to wait until the second half of the year,” Evans said.

When looking at expectations of business conditions, regional respondents were both less optimistic and less pessimistic with the percent of respondents who are “uncertain” about business conditions rising from 27 percent to 47 percent. As a result, the percent who expect business conditions to be favorable fell from 32 percent in September to 24 percent in March, while those who expect business conditions to be bad in the next 12 months fell from 41 percent to 28 percent.

Expectations changed when expanding the time period to five years, with 41 percent of those surveyed anticipating good times, down just two percentage points from September.

This round of survey results also includes a Current Conditions Sub-Index and a Consumer Expectations Sub-Index, which follows the model of the national Thomson/Reuters Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

These sub-indexes are meaningful in comparison to national indexes or to previous values of Arvest Consumer Sentiment indexes. Higher numbers indicate some combination of consumer satisfaction with their current and expected personal finances, current and expected economic performance, and the purchasing environment. Larger increases indicate more confidence across the three areas.

The Current Conditions Sub-Index is tabulated from the answers to two questions on the survey: “How is your current financial situation compared with a year ago?” and “What do you think of buying conditions over the next six months?” The Current Conditions Sub-Index for the region is 90.3 in March, unchanged from September. 

The Consumer Expectations Sub-Index is tabulated from the answers to three survey questions: “How do you expect your financial situation to change in the next year?” “How do you think business conditions will be in a year?” and “How do you expect business conditions will be in five years?” The regional Consumer Expectations Sub-Index dropped from 78.9 in September to 77.5 in March. 

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with the University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducting 1,200 phone and online surveys.

Arvest Bank’s sponsorship of this survey is due to its desire to provide beneficial data for its customers and communities. The data provides a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where the bank operates. Additionally, with future results, consumers, as well as the business community, will be able to see how sentiment is trending.

The Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University provides state analysis of the Missouri data. The Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, evaluates the data for Oklahoma.

The survey will be conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in August. With each study, the index score will be released first, followed by a second release on consumer outlook including the Current Conditions Index and the Consumer Expectations Index and a third release on savings and spending expectations.

Information about the survey and research partners, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release

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