NEWS23 July 2021

Consumer confidence rises as restrictions ease

Covid-19 News Retail Trends UK

UK – UK consumer confidence has passed pre-pandemic levels following six months in a row of improvements, according to GfK’s consumer confidence index.

Blurred high street shoppers

The July index found that overall consumer confidence was up to -7, the same level as February 2020 and two points more than in January 2020.

The latest figure was also two points higher than in June 2021, and the measure for the general economic situation in the country during the last 12 months also rose four points on June, albeit to a score of -43.

However, expectations for the general economic situation of the country during the next year dropped three points to -5, although this was still 36 points higher than July 2020.

The results are based on a sample of 2,000 people aged 16 and over who were surveyed between 1st July and 14th July. Scores above zero are seen as positive, with minus figures negative.

The index measuring changes in personal finances over the past 12 months had a score of -1, one point lower than in June, while the forecast for personal finances for the year ahead stayed the same at +11.

The major purchase index, which measures whether now is the right time to make large purchases, increased by seven points to +2 in July, coinciding with the continued easing of Covid-19 restrictions across the UK.

The savings index was down one point to +20 in July.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: “The healthy seven-point [in the major purchase index] rise aligns with strong retail growth figures that reflect the gradual unlocking of the UK high street and release of pent-up demand as Brits hit shops, restaurants and venues.

“However, threats from increasing consumer price inflation, Covid-19 variants and rising infection figures, the looming end of furlough and the Job Retention Scheme, could put the brakes on this rebound.

“Consumers are aware of these pressures judging from the latest fall – from -2 to -5 – in how they view the general economy in the year ahead. What happens across the remaining summer months will frame consumer confidence for the rest of 2021 and beyond.”