NEWS22 March 2024

UK consumer confidence stalls in March

Cost of Living News Trends UK

UK – Consumer confidence was unchanged in the UK in March with rises in measures for personal finances, according to data from GfK.

Consumer confidence abstract image with shopping trolley

In its Consumer Confidence Index, overall consumer confidence stayed at -21, with three measures rising and two declining.
The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last year was up one point from February to -13, which was 13 points better than March 2023.

In addition, the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months is up two points to +2, which was 23 points higher than this time last year.

However, there was a two-point drop in confidence in the general economic situation of the country in the past 12 months, falling to -45, albeit 17 points higher than in March 2023.

Positively, expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have increased by one point to -23, which is also 17 points better than March 2023.

The Major Purchase Index declined two points to -27 in March from the previous month, which was also six points higher than in the same month last year.

But the Savings Index decreased four points, despite being at a positive score of 25. The index was still four points higher than March 2023’s figure.

The Consumer Confidence Index is based on a nationally representative survey of 2,007 UK adults carried out between 1st and 15th March 2024.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: “The improved Personal Finance measure (next 12 months) at +2 is encouraging because it’s the first positive and the highest score since December 2021. This is welcome news given the challenges faced by Britons of fiscal drag, higher costs for fuel, rising council taxes and utilities eroding any increases in wages or other income.

“But is there a note of worry this month? Look back to last year and it’s clear the improvements in consumer confidence seen most months since January 2023 have vanished.

“Are we temporarily on pause, or are consumers about to press ‘reverse’? In the run-up to the next UK general election, these are important questions for the future health of the economy.”