NEWS24 March 2023

Consumer confidence rises but personal finance outlook stagnates

Cost of Living News Public Sector Trends UK

UK – Consumer confidence in the UK rose two points in March to -36 but consumers’ personal financial situations saw no improvement, according to GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index.

Consumer confidence pound

The index found that people’s perceptions of their personal financial situation stayed the same as February at -26, 13 points worse than in March 2022.

The forecast for personal finances for the year ahead was down three points from the previous month to -21, which was three points lower than a year ago.

The data is based on a nationally representative survey of 2,000 individuals carried out between 1st and 14th March 2023.

Respondents rated the general economic situation of the country over the past 12 months at -62, albeit a three-point rise on February despite being 11 points lower than March 2022.

Expectations for the general economic situation for the year ahead increased three points to -40 and was nine points better off than this time last year.

The major purchase index, which measures whether now is a good time to make a major purchase, was up four points to -33 but nine points below last year’s total.

The savings index, which measures whether now is the right time to save money, was up two points to a positive score of 21, three points up on March 2022.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: “A small improvement in the overall index score this month masks continuing concerns among consumers about their personal financial situation.

“Forecasts that headline inflation will fall this year have proved premature, given Wednesday’s announcement of an unexpected increase. Wages are not keeping up with rising prices and the cost-of-living crisis remains a stark reality for most.

“The recent budget will bring relief to some sections of the population, but for now many people are simply looking to survive day-by-day. Just having enough money to live right and pay the bills remains the number one concern for consumers across the UK.”