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Retail|Market Opportunities and Innovation|Shopper|Trends and Forecasting|United Kingdom|English

UK Consumer Confidence rises two points to -7 in May

London, 31.05.2018

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index increased two points in May 2018. Four of the five measures increased, with the remaining measure decreasing.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says:

“UK consumers are feeling more upbeat this month with a two-point rise in the Overall Index Score. The scores for personal finances (both for the past year and next year) are positive. However, consumers remain resolutely downbeat about the general state of the economy.

"These negative economic scores are depressing the Overall Index and preventing it from breaking out into positive territory. We have been at zero or negative for 29 months now. When will the strong jobs market and rising real incomes, coupled with ongoing low interest rates and low levels of headline inflation, have an impact?

"Meanwhile, there’s little motivation to spend - as seen by a two-point drop in the Major Purchase Index. With UK retail sales falling at their sharpest rate since the mid-90s, tough trading conditions for Britain's hard-pressed retail sector continue to take their toll. Shoppers are still not showing signs of a willingness to splash-the-cash.

"Will this self-imposed austerity remain the hallmark of pre-Brexit Britain in the run-up to March 2019 and beyond?”

UK Consumer Confidence Measures - May 2018

Personal Financial Situation

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has increased two points this month to +1; this is one point lower than this time last year.

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has increased four points to +8 this month; this is four points higher than May 2017.

General Economic Situation

The measure for the General Economic Situation of the country during the last 12 months has increased five points to -24; this is four points lower than May 2017.

Expectations for the General Economic Situation over the next 12 months have increased three points to -21; this is at the same level as May 2017.

Major Purchase Index

The Major Purchase Index has decreased two points this month to +1; this is eight points lower than May 2017.

Savings Index

The Savings Index has decreased three points to +7 in May; this is two points higher than this time last year.

Download the full GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer UK charts

UK Consumer Confidence Index - May 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 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 May 1st – 15th 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 June 2018 is Friday 29th June 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 list 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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