Joe Staton, GfK’s Client Strategy Director, says: “The headline confidence score improved by five points this month, driven by an energetic 14-point jump in how we view the economy for the coming year.
"Given this, it is tempting to talk of a return to 'normality', but it might be more realistic to talk of ‘challenges’. We need to be cautious because the positive tailwinds of the vaccination roll-out are being met by the very strong headwinds of unemployment, the threat of inflation and the difficulty that many face in affording day-to-day living costs – all serious issues that can dampen consumer confidence.
"Perhaps the key lies in the healthier score in how people are seeing their personal finances going forward. This is the factor that will impact our spending plans, which, in turn, will fuel the post-pandemic economy. That measure is up two points and is reinforced by an encouraging five-point boost for major purchase intentions. The question to watch for now is: will that fragile confidence in our wallets continue through the balance of the lockdown and beyond?”
The Overall Index Score increased five points to -23 in February. Four measures increased in comparison to the January 22nd announcement and one measure was flat.
The index measuring changes in personal finances over the last 12 months is flat at -8; this is seven points lower than February 2020.
The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months is up two points this month at +4; this is two points lower than February 2020.
The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months is up three points at -64; this is 41 points lower than in February 2020.
Expectations for the general economic situation over the coming 12 months have jumped 14 points; this is nine points lower than February 2020.
The Major Purchase Index has increased by five points to -19 in February; this is 25 points lower than it was in February 2020.
The Savings Index is up by one point only to +19 in February; this is just one point lower than this time last year.
About the survey
Personal Financial Situation
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
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
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)
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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