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UK Consumer Confidence drops three points in November to -13

London, 29.11.2018

Is Brexit turning this year’s ‘season of goodwill’ into ‘the season of uncertainty’?

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index decreased by three points in November 2018 to -13.  All five measures used to calculate the Index decreased.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says: 

“Against a backdrop of the Chancellor telling everyone that the Brexit deal on the table will make people worse off, this month we’re recording an across the board fall for all measures with concerns over household finances, the general economy and purchase intentions.

"The measure that fell the most is our Major Purchase Index, with a seven-point plunge that is unhappy news for retailers. The view on the general economy in the coming 12 months fell four points, as did the perception of the past year’s personal finances.

"Overall, we are now back at the -13 level we saw at the end of last year. The next few weeks are highly unlikely to inject any festive cheer, especially if Theresa May’s Brexit deal doesn’t win backing from MPs. The denouement to more than two years of bewildering Brexit wheeler-dealing looks like it will be enacted precisely when many consumers would prefer to be thinking of a well-earned Christmas break, filled with family get-togethers, warmth and festivity - possibly turning this year’s ‘season of goodwill’ into ‘the season of uncertainty’."

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – November 2018

The Overall Index Score in November 2018 is -13, with all five measures decreasing.

Personal Financial Situation

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has decreased four points this month to -3; this is two points lower than at the same point last year.

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has decreased one  point to +3 this month; this is one point higher than November 2017.

General Economic Situation

The measure for the General Economic Situation of the country during the last 12 months has dropped one point to -29 this month; this is three points higher than November 2017. 

Expectations for the General Economic Situation over the next 12 months have decreased four points to -32; this is four points lower than November 2017. 

Major Purchase Index

The Major Purchase Index decreased seven points in November to -3; this is at the same level as November 2017.   

Savings Index

The Savings Index has stayed at the same level this month at +12; this is four points higher than this time last year. 

Download the full GfK Consumer Confidence UK charts for November 2018

GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer - UK figures - November 2018

GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer - UK Index figure trend - Jan 2006 to Nov 2018

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 amongst a sample of 2,003 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 - 15th November 2018. 

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 December 2018 is Friday 21st December 2018.

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. 

The table below provides 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 think the general economic situation in this country has changed over the last 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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