Consumer confidence edges up slightly amid guarded view of the future

Kingston upon Thames, April 2021

Consumer confidence edged up only slightly last month amid a more guarded view of the future from households hit hard by the pandemic, a survey suggests.

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index increased by just one point to minus 15 in April, after a seven-point jump last month.

Confidence in personal finances over the coming year remains strong at plus 10 and the poll recorded a significant rise in confidence in the general economic situation in the next 12 months, with a six-point boost in April following a 13-point increase in March and 14 points in February.

However the major purchase index, a marker of confidence in buying big ticket items, decreased by one point to minus 12, although it remains 40 points higher than this time last year.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: “Confidence has edged up one point in April with consumers taking a more guarded view on the future. This clear trend of growing confidence reflects the forecast of a rebound for our economy during the second half of the year.

“The improvement in the consumer mood since January is welcome but the pandemic has hit household finances hard and, on the road ahead, we will still see concerns over new variants, rising inflation and the debt overhang.

“Nevertheless, there’s every chance that as the recovery gains momentum and the numbers get stronger, confident consumers will continue to spend and drive the wheels of UK finances into the summer and beyond.”

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