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Press release
Financial Services|Retail|Trends and Forecasting|United Kingdom|English

UK Consumer Confidence drops two points in September to -9

London, 28.09.2018

Consumer mood slips as Brexit clock ticks

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index decreased by two points in September 2018 to -9.  Four measures went down and one measure stayed the same.

 

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says: 

“There are fewer than 200 days until Brexit arrangements in some shape or fashion take effect. The clock is ticking down and in September the consumer mood dropped a couple of notches. When respondents talk about their personal finances, the scores are still positive. But for the general economy, they can only reflect on the obvious uncertainty surrounding Brexit. That poor view of the wider economy is keeping the headline score negative – the last positive headline was the +4 in January 2016. The danger is that consumers might capitulate on how they feel about their personal finances. If that happens, we’ll see very sharp drops indeed in the Overall Index Score in the months up to March 2019. Will the coming six months see the consumer mood turn significantly more fragile? Or do consumers think Brexit will ultimately be positive?” 

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – September 2018

The Overall Index Score in September 2018 is -9. Four measures went down in September and one stayed the same. 

Personal Financial Situation 

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has decreased three points this month to +1; this is two points higher than this time last year.

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has decreased three points to +5 this month; this is one point higher than September 2017.

General Economic Situation 

The measure for the General Economic Situation of the country during the last 12 months has decreased two points to -28; this is at the same level as September 2017.  

Expectations for the General Economic Situation over the next 12 months have decreased one point to -27; this is three points lower than August 2017.   

Major Purchase Index 

The Major Purchase Index has stayed the same this month at +6; this is five points higher than August 2017.  

Savings Index 

The Savings Index has decreased four points to +13 in August; this is 10 points higher than this time last year.

Download the full GfK Consumer Confidence UK charts - September 2018

About the GfK Consumer Confidence UK 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 – 15th September 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 September 2018 is Friday 28th September 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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