NEWS29 March 2018

Slight improvement in British consumer confidence

Brexit FMCG News Retail Trends UK

UK – Consumer confidence in the UK has increased to -7 in March, according to GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index.

Blurred high street shoppers

The index saw an uptick of three points over the last month, with the five constituent measures all seeing an increase, although the overall index is still negative, as it has been for the past two years.

The measure for consumers’ attitudes towards their personal finances during the last 12 months increased by three points to +3. The outlook for personal finances in the next year is also more positive, rising by five points to +10 this month, which was seven points higher than March 2017.

The index measuring the country’s general economic situation during the past year increased by three points to -26, however this is still five points lower than the same time last year. Expectations for the country’s economy in the next 12 months grew by four points to -22.

Meanwhile, the Major Purchase Index – consumers’ intention to make bigger purchases such as furniture and electrical goods – increased by two points in March to +2; four points lower than March 2017.

Joe Staton, head of experience innovation UK at GfK, attributed the lift in spirits to the prospect of higher wages and some progress being made on Brexit developments. He said: "Despite the Beast from the East leaving the nation shivering under a blanket of snow, stoic UK consumers turned faintly bullish this March with a three-point uptick in the Overall Index Score to -7.

"The prospect of wage rises finally outstripping declining inflation, high levels of employment with low-level interest rates, and finally some movement on the Brexit front appear to have boosted our spirits. It’s still a little early to be talking about green-shoots, and the core score is of course still negative, but this is definitely a movement in the right direction."

GfK conducts the UK Consumer Confidence Barometer on behalf of the European Commission.