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Correlates and Other Models

15 January, 2016 - 09:19

A number of more sophisticated models can be useful in forecasting sales. One fairly common method is a correlational analysis, which is a form of trend analysis that estimates sales based on the trends of other variables. For example, furniture-company executives know that new housing starts (the number of new houses that are begun to be built in a period) predict furniture sales in the near future because new houses tend to get filled up with new furniture. Such a correlate is considered a leading indicator, because it leads, or precedes, sales. The Conference Board publishes an Index of Leading Indicators, which is a single number that represents a composite of commonly used leading indicators. Some of these leading indicators are housing starts, wholesale orders, orders for durable goods (items like refrigerators, air conditioning systems, and other long-lasting consumer products), and even consumer sentiment, or how consumers think the economy is doing.