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London, 17.12.2021

Pre-Christmas Consumer Confidence falls one point to -15 in UK

Consumers growing less inclined to make major purchases

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index decreased one point to -15 in December. Two measures were up, and three were down in comparison to the November 19th announcement.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director, GfK says: “News about the Omicron variant could not have arrived at a worse time for festive celebrations. As thoughts began turning to Christmas and the New Year, Omicron jumped out of nowhere and threatened to bring Santa’s sleigh crashing to a halt.

"While the holiday season has not yet been hijacked, December’s headline score has slipped one point to -15 and the lack of Yuletide cheer is evident.

"Both measures that look at how people see the coming year have slipped – down one point for personal finances over the next 12 months and down one point for the wider economy during 2022. This is driven by concerns over the soaring cost of living with the prospect of looming interest rate rises piling on more pressure. And dispirited Brits say they are less inclined to make major purchases during the countdown to Christmas.

"We end 2021 on a slightly depressed note and it looks like it will be a bleak midwinter for UK consumer confidence possibly with new COVID curbs and little likelihood of any real uplift in the first months of 2022.”

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – December 2021

The Overall Index Score decreased one point to -15 in December. Two measures were up, and three were down in comparison to the November 19th announcement.

Personal Financial Situation

The index measuring changes in personal finances over the last 12 months has increased two points to -5; this is four points better than December 2020.

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has decreased one point to +1; this is two points lower than this time last year.

General Economic Situation

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months is one point better at -39; this is 26 points higher than in December 2020. 

Expectations for the general economic situation over the coming 12 months have dropped by one point to -24; this is 11 points higher than December 2020.

Major Purchase Index

The Major Purchase Index has decreased by three points to -6 in December; this is 16 points higher than it was this month last year.

Savings Index

The Savings Index has weakened by one point to +14 in December; this is three points lower than this time last year.

Download the data charts:

About the survey

  • The UK Consumer Confidence Barometer is conducted by GfK.
  • This month’s survey was conducted among a sample of 2,000 individuals aged 16+.
  • 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 between December 1st and 13th 2021.
  • The figures contained within the Consumer Confidence Barometer have an estimated margin of error of +/-2%.
  • The Overall Index Score is calculated using underlying data that runs to two decimal points.
  • The confirmed date of the next press release is January 21st 2022. The dates for the following five months of next year are: February 25th 2022; March 25th 2022; April 22nd 2022; May 20th 2022; and June 24th 2022.
  • Any published material requires a reference to GfK e.g. ‘Research carried out by GfK’.
  • This study has been running since 1974. Back data is available from 2006.
  • 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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