NEWS17 December 2021

Consumer confidence drops pre-Christmas

Covid-19 News Retail Trends UK

UK – Consumer confidence has fallen again as people become less likely to make major purchases in the run-up to Christmas, according to the latest GfK consumer confidence index.

People in Covid-19 testing queue

Consumer confidence fell one point to -15, based on a survey of 2,000 adults carried out between 1st and 13th December.

This was led by a three-point fall in the major purchase index, which has reached a score of -6, albeit a score significantly higher than the -22 in December 2020.

Respondents were pessimistic about the general economic outlook for both the year before and the year ahead, with a one-point fall to -24 in the score for the economy over the next year.

The view of the economic situation over the previous year raised one point, albeit to a total score of -39.

Personal financial situation over the next year dropped a point but stayed in positive territory with an overall score of one.

There was also a two-point rise in consumer confidence in their personal financial situation over the previous year, but to an overall score of -5.

The Savings Index weakened by one point to a score of 14 in December – three points lower than this time last year.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: “News about the Omicron variant could not have arrived at a worse time for festive celebrations. While the holiday season has not yet been hijacked, December’s headline score has slipped one point to -15 and the lack of Yuletide cheer is evident.

“This is driven by concerns over the soaring cost of living with the prospect of looming interest rate rises piling on more pressure.

“We end 2021 on a depressing note and it looks like it will be a bleak midwinter for UK consumer confidence possibly with new Covid-19 curbs and little likelihood of any real uplift in the first months of 2022.”