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London, 24.04.2020

UK Consumer Confidence holds at -34 for April 2020

Index Score still hovering just five points above historic low of -39 seen in July 2008

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index has remained at -34 for April. One measure increased in comparison to the COVID-19 flash of April 6th, one measure decreased, and three measures remained the same.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director says: “Consumer Confidence has stayed steady at the minus -34 points recorded in our first COVID-19 flash of April 6th. It is too early to say whether this has now stabilised after weeks of adjustment to the reality of lockdown life, or whether further falls are to come.

"Interestingly, we are recording a three-point rise in expectations for personal finances for the next 12-months, although it is important not to attach too much significance to this until we have further tracking.

"It’s no surprise that the Major Purchase Index remains low: despite households making online purchases of home cooking equipment, freezers, TVs, monitors and other goods, these surges in demand have not compensated for the loss of overall retail sales due to the closure of physical stores.

"Overall, there is no guarantee yet that the fall in consumer confidence has ended, and we are only five points away from the record -39 low seen in July 2008.”

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – April 2020

The Overall Index Score remained at -34 in April 2020. One measure increased in comparison to the COVID-19 flash of April 6th, one measure decreased, and three measures remained the same.

Personal Financial Situation 

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months is unchanged at -4; this is three points lower than April 2019.  

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months is slightly higher at -14 this month; this is 14 points lower than April 2019. 

General Economic Situation 

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has dropped four points to -44; this is 14 points lower than in April 2019.   

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months are the same at -56 points; this is 22 points lower than April 2019.  

Major Purchase Index 

The Major Purchase Index has stayed at -52 in April; this is 51 points lower than it was in April 2019. 

Savings Index

The Savings Index has increased by one point in April; this is seven points lower than at this time last year.

Download the charts: GfK Consumer Confidence UK - April 2020

GfK Consumer Confidence UK - Index trend line - Jan 2006 to April 2020

GfK Consumer Confidence UK - Index table - April 2020

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.
  • This month’s survey was conducted among a sample of 2,000 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 April 2020.
  • 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.
  • 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 May  is Friday May 29th although a further COVID-19 flash report will be issued on 8th May.
  • 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 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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