Arlington, Va. - Consumer sentiment about the economy, as well as technology spending, are both down in April, according to the latest CEA Index, released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
Consumer sentiment about the economy dropped for the third straight month in April. The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE), which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, fell to 170.9 this month, down 2.7 points from March but nearly five points higher than this time last year.
"Sentiment slipped again in April as continued uncertainty in Europe and depressed equity market returns likely contributed to lower confidence," said Shawn DuBravac, CEA's chief economist and senior director of research. "Gas prices also played a major role in sentiment as more than half of respondents said high prices at the pump lowered their confidence in the U.S. economy this month."
In April, the CEA Indexes included a series of special questions regarding gas prices. Respondents were asked what impact, if any, higher gas prices were having on their expectations about the broader economy and tech spending over the next 12 months. Roughly 53 percent said gas prices were having no impact on their decision to purchase consumer electronics, while one in three (34 percent) said gas prices were lowering their expectations to make consumer tech purchases over the next 12 months. More than half (51 percent) of respondents said gas prices are lowering their expectations for the U.S. economy over the next 12 months as well.
Consumer sentiment about technology spending also dropped this month, after reaching a high for the year in March. The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) fell to 84.4, down 4.5 points from March. The ICTE, which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, is two points higher than this time last year.
"The slight slip in tech sentiment is not too surprising given the number of new products and devices launched last month as compared to this month," said DuBravac.
The CEA Indexes comprise the ICE and ICTE, both of which are updated on a monthly basis through consumer surveys. New data is released on the fourth Tuesday of each month. CEA has been tracking index data since January 2007. To find current and past indexes, charts, methodology and future release dates, log on to CEAindexes.org.