UK consumer confidence drops again says GfK

Are UK consumers feeling any better about spending – on fashion or anything else – at the moment? It would appear not, with the latest consumer confidence survey from GfK showing sentiment dropping once again in April.


UK consumers are feeling fragile about spending at present


The main confidence index dropped back -9 from -7 during March and consumer views on how their personal financial situation will develop over the next 12 months dropped even more, although this remained in the plus column. But that's particularly worrying given that inflation rises have started to slow down and wages are rising slightly more quickly. Consumers obviously don't feel optimistic even though, in theory, their situations are easing.

The personal financial situation measure for the year ahead fell to +4 from +10 during March while the measure looking at personal financial situations over the past 12 months dropped to -1 from +3, going some way to explaining why consumers simply don't feel any richer at the moment.

And their opinions of the general economic situation of the country remain heavily in negative territory. However, the major purchase index rose to +3 from +2, suggesting there is some willingness to spend on big-ticket items.

Of course, the downside to this could be that with money going towards major purchases, consumers could be less likely to buy discretionary items such as fashion.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, said of all this: “We now have 28 consecutive months without a positive Overall Index Score. The last positive was in January 2016. Hope springs eternal for better numbers but the continued uncertain economic forecast means that the sun is not yet shining brightly for UK consumers. 

“Despite the headline news proclaiming that UK wages rose faster than inflation, that there’s no imminent interest rate rise on the horizon, and that we enjoy record high levels of employment, the Index continues to bump along stubbornly in negative territory. Consumer confidence is stuck in the doldrums.”

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