NEWS19 June 2020

Depressed UK consumer confidence improves slightly

Covid-19 FMCG News Retail UK

UK – Consumer confidence has increased by six points in June, according to GfK’s latest Consumer Confidence Index, but it is still firmly in negative territory, at -30.

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All five measures in the index increased in comparison to the last interim report from GfK, published on 5th June.

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months increased by one point to -9, while the forecast for the next year is up six points to -4. Both measures for personal finances are down compared to June 2019 (by eight and six points respectively).

The outlook for the economy has improved slightly, suggests the latest index score, with expectations for the UK’s general economic situation over the next 12 months up by nine points. However, the score is still negative (-48 ) and 15 points lower than the same time last year.

The major purchase index grew by nine points to -32, while the savings index (not included in the overall index score) improved by four points. Again, both measures are still lower than they were in June 2019.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: "We have a six-point uptick in the Overall Index Score with all measures up and particularly strong increases in future perceptions of personal finances and the economy. But we still have a story that’s about negative numbers so it’s too early to say that consumers are moving on from the Covid-19 crisis."

The initial fall in consumer confidence recorded by GfK on 6th April was the biggest the survey had ever recorded.

Staton said: "This latest improvement may be misleading. Consumers appear to be confused and some are not sure what to think. Yes, we have seen queues as some shoppers return to battered high streets. But with economists warning that the post-lockdown upturn might not restore GDP to pre-Covid-19 levels, and with the labour market set for more job losses, we have to question whether we are seeing early signs of economic recovery or that infamous ‘dead cat bounce'. Most bets will be on the dead cat."

In addition to its usual monthly consumer confidence releases, GfK has been publishing interim reports during the Covid-19 pandemic. The UK Consumer Confidence Barometer is conducted by GfK in partnership with the European Commission. Interviewing was carried out during 1st–11th June.