How Do You Measure Consumer Confidence?

I was chatting on the phone with a publicist earlier this week. After he got done with his editorial pitch, the conversation turned to other topics. He and his wife are thinking about downsizing and also moving to a warmer climate… maybe Florida, where there are condo bargains waiting to be snatched up.

It was just one consumer talking, but his optimism was contagious.

This anecdotal evidence reinforces the May numbers released by the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® which now stand at 63.3, up from 57.7 in April. The Present Situation Index increased to 30.2 from 28.2. The Expectations Index improved to 85.3 from 77.4 last month.

According to Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, consumer confidence posted its third consecutive monthly gain, and although still weak by historical levels, appears to be gaining some traction. “Consumers’ apprehension about current business conditions and the job market continues to slowly dissipate. Consumers’ expectations, on the other hand, have increased sharply over the past three months, propelling the Expectations Index to pre-recession levels (August 2007, 89.2).” Franco added, “The improvement has been fueled primarily by growing optimism about business and labor market conditions. Income expectations, however, remain downbeat.”

So it must have been the perception of a good deal—or getting a lot for their money—that created a stir in Hawaii where dozens of people reportedly camped out for as long as two days outside the sales office of the Pacifica Honolulu condominium project.

They wanted to be among the first to snatch up a good deal. The project is now being developed by San Diego-based OliverMcMillan which has rebranded the condominium and increased the allure of the property.

This is good news since Pacifica Honolulu had stopped construction in the fall of 2008 after the developer lost his construction loan and stopped funding the project with his own equity. The 27th floor of the concrete tower had been poured, and the exterior glass and interior finishes were partially underway.

What good news are you hearing from your consumers?