Arvest released the third part of its Fall 2014 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey which looked at spending, savings and debt.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma are saving at a higher rate, and about a fifth of them plan to increase their saving even further.
Those are among the more noticeable findings from the third phase of the Fall 2014 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released today. This phase is the final piece of the survey, conducted in October, and focuses on consumers’ attitudes concerning spending, saving and debt.
Regional respondents’ saving rate increased from 11.6 percent in June’s survey to 12.1 percent in October. The change was bolstered primarily by Arkansas consumers, whose rate grew from 9.5 percent to 11.9 percent. The rate among Missourians remained at 11.7 percent, while Oklahomans’ rate took a slight dip, from 13.1 percent to 12.8 percent.
When it came to plans to increase saving over the next six months, meanwhile, 20 percent of those polled regionally said they plan to do just that. That compares to 17 percent in June. The biggest jumps were in Oklahoma (15 percent to 23 percent) and Missouri (15 percent to 21 percent), while the number of Arkansans planning to increase their savings rate fell from 23 percent to 18 percent.
“Saving when possible is generally a good idea, and we’re pleased to see that consumers across our footprint are doing that,” Arvest Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “This round of results also shows that a good number of consumers are prepared to flex their purchasing power in the coming months, too. We’re always happy to help people prepare for their financial future, whether that means saving money or making the kinds of purchases that improve their quality of life.”
While 36 percent of regional respondents said they have made a major household purchase in the last six months – down from 39 percent in June – 24 percent of those polled plan to make such a purchase in the next six months. Major household purchases include items like furniture, televisions and refrigerators.
Respondents in Missouri (27 percent) led the way in that regard, followed by Arkansas (25 percent) and Oklahoma (22 percent). Of those in the region not planning to make a major purchase, 19 percent said they were waiting for the right time to buy.
The questions concerning consumers’ plan to make a major household purchase in the next six months and whether they’re waiting for the right time to buy are two of four new questions not included in the June survey due to incomplete data.
The other new questions asked if respondents planned to acquire credit – whether it is mortgage, home equity, auto loan, credit card or student loan – in the next six months, and if respondents anticipated difficulty acquiring credit. The categories with the highest expected credit acquisition were auto loan, credit card and student loans, with 4 percent each. Of those who planned to acquire any type of credit, only 5 percent expected difficulty.
The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas, which also evaluates the Arkansas data. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted 1,200 phone surveys.
The survey will be conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in May 2015. 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. The third release will focus on spending, savings and debt expectations.
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.
About Our Research Partners
The Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville provides excellence in applied economic and business research to federal, state and local government, as well as to businesses currently operating or those that desire to operate in the state of Arkansas. The center further works to improve the economic opportunities of all Arkansans by conducting policy research in the public interest.
The University of Oklahoma Public Opinion Learning Laboratory serves two functions: to provide a learning environment for the teaching of survey design, public opinion research and data analysis for the purpose of developing student capabilities to conduct academic and professional research and analysis; and to conduct research on public opinion, in order to foster knowledge about public affairs and to assist in the conduct of research on public policy of import to state and local governments, media organizations, other public and private entities, and the general public.
The Bureau of Economic Research, housed within the Economics Department at Missouri State University, serves as a clearinghouse for data and publications on economic conditions within the region, state and nation. The staff has a wide variety of experience and is able to provide consulting services, produce detailed GIS maps, economic and industry forecasts and other relevant reports.
The Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, which includes the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. MSB prepares graduate and undergraduate students to be socially responsible leaders in a global economy through teaching excellence and faculty scholarship in business practice and the disciplines. Faculty and students engage with the business community, local government and regulatory agencies as part of the teaching-learning process.