NEWS19 October 2017

European consumers most confident since 2007

Brexit Europe News Trends

EUROPE – Consumer confidence is at its highest level in more than nine years, according to GFK’s Consumer Climate Europe report for Q3.

Consumers illustration_crop

The findings are based on the consumer survey conducted by GfK on behalf of the European Commission. Around 40,000 people a month are surveyed across the European Union’s 28 countries. According to the survey, consumer sentiment has continued an upward trend in Q3, finishing on 20.9 points – up from 19.1 points at the end of Q2 and the highest level since the end of 2007.

Amid continued uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit negotiations, consumer confidence in Britain remained fairly steady over the last quarter. However, expectations have dropped compared to the same time last year. 

Economic expectation dropped half-way through Q3 before rising slightly to finish on -23.5 points – 2.8 points down since the end of Q2, and 21.7 points lower than the same time in 2016. 

While income expectation appeared to improve compared to Q2, it is still 9.4 points lower than the same time last year. UK consumers’ propensity to buy increased at the beginning and end of Q3, ending on the same level as Q2, but again showing a significant dip of 10.2 points since the same period in 2016.

Other European countries, meanwhile, experienced some turbulence in terms of confidence. Germany’s economic expectation dropped mid-quarter, but remains 26.6 points higher than the same time in 2016, while income expectation dropped sharply in September.

French consumers, against a backdrop of continued high unemployment, have experienced a sharp drop in expectations since the end of Q2; income expectation dropped to end on -18.9 points – a low not seen since April 2016. 

Rolf Bürkl, GfK’s consumer expert, said: "Private consumption has proved a major pillar for the EU economy during the last quarter with several countries either improving or holding steady on the ‘propensity to buy’ measure.

"This has combated the more mixed results seen in individual countries within the other measures, where economic expectation has dropped in France, Germany and Portugal, and income expectation has fallen in France, Austria and Germany, compared to the second quarter of 2017."