NEWS6 April 2020

UK consumer confidence sees record fall

Covid-19 FMCG News Public Sector Retail UK

UK – Consumer confidence decreased sharply by 25 points to -34 between the first and last two weeks of March, with people concerned over their personal finances and the economy due to Covid-19, according to GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index.

Consumer confidence spending pound_crop

The drop in the Overall Index Score, from -9 in mid-March, represents the biggest fall since GfK began collecting consumer confidence data in January 1974.

The latest data is part of an interim report produced in response to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, to accompany the monthly Consumer Confidence Barometer, carried out by GfK on behalf of the EU. Interviewing for the interim report was conducted between 16th-27th March among a sample of 2,000 individuals.

All measures tracked as part of the Barometer decreased in the last two weeks of the month. The Major Purchase Index, which tracks whether or not consumers think now is a good time to be buying more expensive items such as electricals, was hit hardest, dropping from -2 in mid-March to -52.

The measure tracking people’s outlook for the general economic situation over the next 12 months decreased by 29 points to -56, compared with the -27 score recorded in mid-March. Expectations for personal finances over the next year were also hit, with the measure down 20 points to -17.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: “Our Covid-19 ‘flash report’ shows a dramatic result with consumer confidence falling off the cliff in the last two weeks of March. The last time we saw such a decline was during the 2008 economic downturn. Our falling confidence in our personal financial situation and the wider economy reflects the new concern for many across the UK.

“Despite record grocery sales, and recent peaks for purchases of freezers, TVs and home office equipment as people prepared for a long period in the home, the Major Purchase Index is down 50 points – a stark picture for some parts of the retail industry in the short to medium term.”