A year removed from the Dealerscope CE Retail Confidence Index reaching its lowest total to-date, our monthly survey of the industry finds itself in nearly an identical situation. The September 2018 DS Index clocked in at 166.92, which is just 0.41 points higher than it was this time last year. Though tracking above that point, the decline heading into September represents the third month in a row that the DS Index has declined. This is also the third month in a row that the survey has dropped at or around 10 points month-over-month.
Dealerscope anticipated one last drop off in confidence ahead of the final quarter of the year, similar to last year but not like this.
Retailers, through the survey, identified two main sources for the cause of the decline: tariffs and a general decline in confidence in specific product categories. Tariffs, while an important topic that we’ve covered at great lengths on Dealerscope, are a little hard to define through the numbers of the survey. Products, which we’ll get into, can certainly tell their own story.