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London, 20.05.2022

Consumer confidence down two points to lowest-ever score of -40

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index decreased two points to -40 in May, the lowest score since records began in 1974. Four measures were down in comparison to the April 22nd announcement, and one was up.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director, GfK says: “The GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer recorded a headline score of -40 in May, the worst since our records began in 1974. This comes as UK unemployment hits a 50-year low with vacancies outnumbering job seekers for the first time, and inflation peaking at a 40-year high driven by soaring food and fuel bills. May’s result is one point lower than the previous record set in July 2008 when the headline score plunged to -39. This means consumer confidence is now weaker than in the darkest days of the global banking crisis, the impact of Brexit on the economy, or the Covid shutdown. Consumer pessimism is most evident in depressed sub-measures on the general economy at -63 for the past year and -56 for the coming year. The Major Purchase Index has decreased for each of the past six months and is now at -35, reflecting the latest dismal set of retail sales figures. Even the Bank of England is pessimistic, with Governor Andrew Bailey this week offering no hope of tackling inflation. The outlook for consumer confidence is gloomy, and nothing on the economic horizon shows a reason for optimism any time soon.”

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – May 2022

The Overall Index Score decreased two points to -40 in May. Four measures were down in comparison to the April 22nd announcement, and one was up.

Personal Financial Situation

The index measuring changes in personal finances over the last 12 months has decreased three points to -22; this is 18 points worse than May 2021. 

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has increased one point to -25; this is 35 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 down three points at -63; this is 15 points lower than in May 2021.  

Expectations for the general economic situation over the coming 12 months have dropped by one point to -56; this is 60 points lower than May 2021.

Major Purchase Index

The Major Purchase Index decreased three points to -35 in May; this is 28 points lower than this month last year.

Savings Index

The Savings Index is the same as last month at +10; this is 12 points lower than this time last year..

Download the data charts for May 2022

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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 conducted between April 30th and May 12th
  • 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 June 24th The dates for the remainder of the year are: July 22nd; August 19th; September 23rd; October 21st; November 25th; and December 16th.
  • 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 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)

 



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