• UK Consumer Confidence: ‘Stoic amid fear of the unknown’

    New data from GfK indicates that consumer confidence rose in February despite huge unknowns over Brexit.

    The research outfit says its Overall Index Score in February 2019 was -13 as three key measures increased and two stayed at the same level – to the surprise of its analysts.

    The UK Consumer Confidence Barometer is conducted by GfK on behalf of the EU, with similar surveys being conducted in each European country.

    Personal Financial Situation

    The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months stayed the same in February at 0; this is also the same as this time last year.

    The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months stayed the same at +1; this is four points lower than February 2018.

    General Economic Situation

    The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months increased two points to -33; this is four points lower than February 2018. 

    Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months increased one point to -38; this is 12 points lower than February 2018.  

    Major Purchase Index

    The major purchase index increased three points in February 2019 to +5; this is five points higher than February 2018.    

    Savings Index

    The savings index has increased four points in February to +18; this is six points higher than at this time last year.

    To download the full set of charts for the GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer UK – February 2019 click here.

    Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, said: “Despite a slowdown in overall growth and concerns about the impact of Brexit uncertainty on the UK economy, topline consumer confidence is stable again this month. 

    “Although bumping along in negative territory, the Overall Index Score is not showing any sign of making the dramatic drop seen after the June 2016 Brexit Referendum or in the early days of the last financial downturn. 

    “While the view on personal finances looking at the year to come is still marginally positive, the continuing depressed sentiment towards the general economic situation might point towards the calm before the storm of post-Brexit headwinds and potential negative economic outcomes. 

    “Are we on the edge of some kind of economic or livelihood precipice? Consumers are like markets, they respond to certainty and that’s in short supply just now. It is worth bearing in mind that many economic indicators (employment levels, wage growth) remain positive. But it is frankly amazing that confidence is so stoic and stable in a world of sharp political instability and fear of the unknown.”

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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