Happy People Buy Cars
If you’re happy and you know it ... buy a car? As it turns out, a strong correlation exists between happiness and the sale of automobiles.
U.S. auto sales rose 3.7 percent in February, likely due to consumers who have deferred purchasing and new models. While economists might argue that the health of the auto industry remains questionable and that automakers appear to be riding the coattails of the housing industry, data compiled by Prosper Insight & Analytics finds that analysts and automakers alike may be missing a key indicator in consumer happiness. The research firm has identified a strong correlation between the overall happiness of Americans and vehicle sales.
The relationship between the “Happiness Score” -- a composite measure of the current state of U.S. consumer happiness across 10 aspects of life -- and thousands of government data points results in more than 6,000 “correlation coefficients,” according to Prosper. The observations were time shifted one month (with happiness leading) and a relationship was identified between people’s overall happiness and light vehicle sales.
Interestingly, no significant relationship was found between government light vehicle sales data and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Still, Prosper Technologies chief scientist Michael Perkins insists, “Our analytical efforts regarding happiness as a key economic indicator, although still exploratory, suggest a very interesting avenue for further study.”