Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says:
“With the Overall Index Score stuck at -14 this month, UK consumers remain in a ‘wait and see’ holding pattern in the face of political chaos in Westminster.
"We’re feeling slightly more confident about our personal finances, thanks to the effect of strong employment, low interest and inflation rates, and rising household incomes. However, concerns about the wider economic prospects for the country continue to weigh and depress the Overall Index Score.
"We have a -39 for ‘General Economic Situation over the next 12 months’ – the lowest for more than seven years and getting close to the levels we saw at the end of 2008 and in early 2009. This is unsurprising given that consumers, companies and corporations thrive on certainty, which is in short supply just two months before the planned date for the UK’s EU-exit.
"The next few months promise to be turbulent for the consumer so will this measure for the economic outlook in the coming year drop even further?”
The Overall Index Score in January 2019 is -14, two of the five measures decreased in January, two decreased and one stayed at the same level.
The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has increased one point this month to 0; this is one point higher than at the same point last year.
The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has increased two points to +1 this month; this is five points lower than January 2018.
The measure for the General Economic Situation of the country during the last 12 months has dropped four points to -35 this month; this is six points lower than January 2018.
Expectations for the General Economic Situation over the next 12 months have decreased one point to -39; this is 15 points lower than January 2018.
The Major Purchase Index stayed at the same level in January 2019 at +2; this is one point lower than January 2018.
The Savings Index has decreased two points in January to +14; this is four points higher than at this time last year.
Download the full set of charts for the GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer UK - January 2019
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 2,002 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 January 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 February is Thursday 28th February 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 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)