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Consumer confidence stalls as gains made since last year ‘vanish’
22 March 2024

Consumer confidence stalled in negative territory in March as the steady improvements seen since early last year vanished, figures show.

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index remained unchanged at minus 21, following a two-point dip in February 2024.

The major purchase index, a measure of confidence in buying big ticket items, fell two points to minus 27, although it remains six points higher than a year ago.

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months increased by one point to minus 23 – 17 points better than last March – and confidence in personal finances for the year ahead saw an "encouraging" two-point rise to positive two, which was 23 points higher than this time last year.

Joe Staton, GfK Client Strategy Director, said: "The improved personal finance measure at positive two 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."

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