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Press release
Consumer Insights|Trends and Forecasting|Consumer Life|Consumer Insights Engine|United Kingdom|English

Consumers keeping calm in April amid the Westminster carry-on

London, 30.04.2019

UK Consumer Confidence stubbornly marks -13 for third month in a row

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says: 

“We have reported a -13 headline for the past three months and it appears it’s a case of ‘Keep Calm’ when it comes to how confident consumers are feeling right now.  Despite political carry-on in the Westminster bubble with the clock ticking on Britain’s eventual departure from the EU, consumers are holding firm and remain unshaken by the daily headlines of turmoil and intrigue, although we remain in negative territory. 

"This month we see a dip in the measures for our personal financial situation - both looking back a year and ahead to the coming year - but this is balanced by a small increase in our perspective on the state of the UK economy.  The further two-point drop in our measure on ‘major purchases’ suggests more challenges in the near future at least for the retail sector. 

"The biggest change is a sudden drop in the motivation to save money – this is down by eight points – and represents the largest monthly drop in our savings measure since after the Brexit referendum in June 2016.”  

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – April 2019

The Overall Index Score in April 2019 is -13; Two measures increased and three saw a decrease in April.

Personal Financial Situation 

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has decreased this month to -1; this is the same as April 2018.

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months decreased by two points to 0 this month; this is four points lower than April 2018. 

General Economic Situation 

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has increased by three points this month; this is one point lower than April 2018.  

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have increased two points to -34; this is ten points lower than April 2018.   

Major Purchase Index 

The major purchase index decreased two points in April 2019 to -1; this is four points lower than April 2018.    

Savings Index 

The savings index has decreased eight points in April to +12; this is two points higher than at this time last year.

Download the charts: GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer UK -  April 2019

GfK Consumer Confidence UK - index table for April 2019

GfK Consumer Confidence UK - index trend Jan 2006 to Apr 2019

About the survey

The UK Consumer Confidence Barometer is conducted by GfK on behalf of the EU, with similar surveys being conducted in each European country. In producing its own reports on the whole of Europe, the EU applies a seasonal adjustment to the data, to smooth out any changes that are functions, at least in part, of the time of year.

Historically, the UK data have not been seasonally adjusted in this way, and to maintain comparability, GfK continues not to apply this adjustment. This can lead to situations where the EU figures show different movements in a particular month from those produced by GfK. Individual months may be affected, but the long-term trend is not.

The UK Consumer Confidence Survey from GfK was conducted among a sample of 2,001 individuals aged 16+ on behalf of the European Commission.

Quotas are imposed on age, sex, region and social class to ensure the final sample is representative of the UK population. 

Interviewing was carried out during 1st – 14th April 2019.

The figures contained within the Consumer Confidence Barometer have an estimated margin of error of +/-2%.

Results for the Consumer Confidence Barometer are normally available on the last working day of each month at 00.01am (unless the final working day of a month is a Monday, in which case the results are published on the Friday preceding the final working day). The release date for May is Friday 31st May 2019.

Any published material requires a reference to both GfK and the European Commission e.g. ‘Research carried out by GfK on behalf of the European Commission’.

This study has been running since 1974. Back data is available from 1996.  

Below is an overview of the questions asked to obtain the individual index measures:

Personal Financial Situation (Q1/Q2) This index is based on the following questions to consumers: ‘How has the financial situation of your household changed over the last 12 months?’ ‘How do you expect the financial position of your household to change over the next 12 months?’ (a lot better – a little better – stay(ed) the same – a little worse – a lot worse)

General Economic Situation (Q3/Q4) This index is based on the following questions to consumers: ‘How do you expect the general economic situation in this country to develop over the next 12 months?’ ‘How do you expect the general economic situation in this country to develop over the next 12 months?’ (a lot better – a little better – stay(ed) the same – a little worse - a lot worse)

Major Purchase Index (Q8) This index is based on the following question to consumers: ‘In view of the general economic situation, do you think now is the right time for people to make major purchases such as furniture or electrical goods?’ (right time – neither right nor wrong time – wrong time)

Savings Index (Q10) This index is based on the following question to consumers: ‘In view of the general economic situation do you think now is?’ (a very good time to save – a fairly good time to save – not a good time to save – a very bad time to save) (Commented on but not included in the Index Score)

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Joseph Staton  
 
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