NEWS13 April 2021

Consumer confidence hits three-year high

Covid-19 News Trends UK

UK – Consumer confidence in Britain has reached its highest level since August 2018 as Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease across the country, according to analysis from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

Crowd of people wearing anti-viral masks

Consumer confidence increased by 2.1 points to 108.5 in March, according to the consumer confidence index, which runs monthly and is based on more than 6,000 interviews.

Points totals of more than 100 represent a positive score, with anything below that figure representing negative sentiment. The latest figures come as England eases out of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Confidence in household finances over the past month rose 1.2 points but remained in negative territory at a total score of 94.1, but people’s anticipation of their household finances over the year ahead was more positive, with a 3.1-point increase to 102.3.

Workers reported increased activity at their workplaces, with business activity in the past month rising five points to 108.5.

Workers also anticipated that their business would remain busy for the year ahead, with confidence levels rising to a score of 126.

Confidence in job security also rose for the past month (up 1.8 points to 90.9 ) and remained steady for the year ahead with a score of 114.2.

Homeowners were also more likely to believe their house’s value had risen in the past 30 days (up 2.2 to 111.4 ) and will do in the year ahead (up 3.2 points to 120.7 ).

Additional research from YouGov and CEBR showed that two-fifths of the public ( 39%) believe the economy will be expanding a year from now, albeit the majority ( 61%) still believe it will be contracting.

Darren Yaxley, director of reputation research at YouGov, said: “Mostly driven by confidence in business activity, house values and personal finances over the coming 12 months, March’s index indicates that many consumers are hopeful for a swift recovery – indicated by the two-fifths who believe the economy will be expanding in a year’s time.”

Kay Neufeld, head of forecasting and thought leadership at the Cebr, said: “We expect the positive sentiment to translate into a noticeable pickup in economic growth in the second and third quarter of this year, supported by strong consumer spending and higher employment levels.

“The end of the furlough scheme later in the year is still expected to lead to an increase in redundancies but, for the time being, consumers seem to be focusing on the opportunities ahead as the economy re-opens, starting with outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail this week.”