Consumer confidence in Florida drops ahead of holiday season, UF study finds

Signs remind patrons to wear masks and other protocols because of the coronavirus pandemic as they stroll through the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Walt Disney World Resort theme parks plan to reopen on July 11. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Consumer confidence in Florida is falling ahead of the holiday season, a study from the University of Florida found.

After the largest one-month gain in consumer confidence since the pandemic started in September, the study found that consumer sentiment among Floridians dropped 2 points in October to 84.4 from a revised September figure of 86.4.

“The two components reflecting Floridians' views about current economic conditions weakened in October,” UF researchers wrote in a press release. “Views of personal financial situations now compared with a year ago dropped 3.7 points from 71.1 to 67.4. This opinion is shared by all Floridians, but it is particularly stronger among people age 60 and older, women, and those with an annual income under $50,000.”

Floridians are not particularly confident in the future either.

Expectations about the U.S. economic conditions over the next year dropped 3.7 points from 90.7 to 87, the study found, while the outlook of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years decreased 1.6 points from 93.3 to 91.7.

“While responses to some of the questions of the index were split across sociodemographic groups, people age 60 and older and people with an annual income under $50,000 consistently reported less-favorable views across all five questions. This pattern is consistent with the ‘K-shaped’ recovery that economists are talking about, meaning economic conditions improve for well-educated, higher-skill, and higher-wage workers while hard times continue for the rest,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “Overall, Floridians are more pessimistic in October than September, and one of the sources of the pessimism is Floridians' opinions as to whether now is a good time to buy a big-ticket item, a potentially negative sign for retailers during the holiday shopping season."

Sandoval said November’s consumer sentiment reading will be important to gauge Floridians' opinions and expectations about their economic prospects after the presidential election.

Details of this month’s survey can be found here.