Consumer confidence showing “green shoots” of recovery

Consumer confidence is showing “green shoots” of recovery on the back of well-received Budget announcements, the successful vaccine rollout and roadmaps in place for ending lockdown, a survey suggests.

British peoples’ positivity about their personal finances over the next 12 months is at its highest point in three years, jumping six points to a score of 10 in March, seven points higher than this time last year, according to the long-running consumer confidence index by market research company GfK (Growth from Knowledge).

The measure on economic prospects for the next 12 months was up by 13 points to minus 17, a strong result following February’s equally strong 14-point boost.

The major purchase index, an indicator of consumer confidence in buying big ticket items, increased by eight points to minus 11, but remains nine points lower than it was this time last year.

The index recorded an overall score of minus 16. While this indicates that attitudes remain negative, it is a robust increase on last month’s score of minus 23, with all five measures increasing on February and marking an improvement each month of this year.

The survey takes into account how consumers feel about their own financial situation and savings as well as the wider economy.

And while the measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months still languishes at minus 60, 37 points lower than last March, expectations for the coming year have jumped 13 points to minus 17, 10 points higher than a year ago.

GfK client strategy director Joe Staton said: “The scores looking ahead one year are recovering especially well.

If this improved mood translates into spending, it might help reverse some of the economic damage the UK has suffered. And the eight-point fillip in our major purchase measure to minus 11 suggests this may well happen.

“It’s highly likely this upward trajectory on all measures will build over the next six months and beyond.”

The index was based on a survey of 2,000 people across the UK in March.

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