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Consumer Insights|Trends and Forecasting|Consumer Insights Engine|United Kingdom|English

UK Consumer Confidence sunnier in May, but long-term forecast is less certain

London, 31.05.2019

Overall Index Score increases to -10 for May 2019

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index increased to –10 this month. Four measures increased and one stayed the same.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says: “Despite a backdrop of Brexit-related change and complexity, and price rises for most household bills in April, consumers have managed a seasonal spring in their step with a three-point uptick in consumer confidence this month.

"Although the Overall Index Score is still bumping along in negative territory, we’re seeing stronger positives in measures about how consumers view their personal financial situation – a key metric impacting day-to-day spending. This is coupled with a less negative view of the general financial situation across the UK in the coming year.

"With the Government forecasting an economy showing modest growth, where inflation is under control, unemployment is at multi-decade lows and the employment rate is at a record level, perhaps this sunnier picture is to be expected? But before we see a leap back into the brighter positive numbers last seen in January 2016, consumers will need to be convinced in heart, head and wallet that Brexit’s murkiness has finally come to an end. And there are potentially dark clouds on the horizon with the next EU deadline of October 31st.

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – May 2019

The Overall Index Score in May 2019 is -10; four measures increased, and one stayed the same in May.

Personal Financial Situation 

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has increased this month to +3; this is two points higher than in May 2018.  

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months also increased by five points to +5 this month; this is three points lower than May 2018. 

General Economic Situation 

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has remained the same this month at -30; this is six points lower than in May 2018.  

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have increased five points to -29; this is eight points lower than May 2018.   

Major Purchase Index 

The major purchase index increased two points in May 2019 to +1; this is the same as May 2018.

Savings Index 

The savings index has increased four points in May to +16; this is nine points higher than at this time last year.

Download the full charts for GfK's Consumer Confidence Barometer Index - May 2019

GfK Consumer Confidence Index - UK - May 2019

GfK Consumer Confidence Index trend line - UK - May 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 May 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 June is Friday 28th June 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.  

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)

Contact us
Joseph Staton  
 
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