NEWS21 December 2018

Consumer confidence drops to five-year low

Brexit FMCG News Retail Trends UK

UK – Consumer confidence has dipped one point in December to -14, with three of the five measures decreasing, ending 2018 on a five-year low.

Confidence gloomy rainy london_crop

While people’s attitudes towards their personal finances over the past 12 months improved slightly (up two points), the index measuring personal financial situation in the year ahead dropped by four points to -1, three points lower than December 2017.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: "UK consumers are ending 2018 on a pessimistic note with Christmas cheer in short supply. We are five points lower than this year’s opening score in January and were no higher than -7 this summer. This represents a more than five-year low for the index which has bumped along in negative territory since 2016."

Consumer outlook on the country’s general economic situation over the coming year has also worsened, decreasing by six points to -38, 10 points lower than this time last year.

Staton described the drop as "the most telling data point this month with consumers clearly casting a vote of no-confidence in our immediate economic future".

The major purchase index saw an increase by five points to +2, while the savings index, which is commented on but not included in the overall score, rose by four points in December to +16; 12 points higher than December 2017.

"In the face of ever-rising costs, and the threat of higher inflation combined with uncertainty around the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it’s no surprise that consumers are in a chilly mood of despondency and putting on a glum face when they look at the prospects for 2019," Staton added.

The monthly Consumer Confidence Barometer is conducted by GfK on behalf of the European Commission. December’s interviews were carried out between 1st and 12th December 2018.