No bounce back yet for UK Consumer Confidence

London, May 22nd, 2020 – GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index has decreased one point to -34 for May. Two measures increased in comparison to the 2nd COVID-19 flash of May 8th, two measures decreased, and one measure remained the same.

Joe Staton, GfK’s Client Strategy Director, comments:

“At -34, Consumer Confidence in the UK remains battered despite efforts at loosening the COVID-19 restrictions. With unemployment claims rising by the highest rate on record and warnings of a recession and possible tax hikes, the damage done by the coronavirus pandemic to the UK economic landscape has been laid bare.

"The lower scores we have registered during May for perceptions of the general economic situation reflect this, and the Government is dampening down expectations of an immediate economic bounce back. So, despite plans to get the country up and running, consumers feel we are not out of the woods yet.

"Confidence will remain fragile for some time and the possibility of another spike in COVID-19 cases as we adapt to the ‘new normal’ is an obvious danger.”

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – May 2020

The Overall Index Score decreased by one point over the past two weeks. Two measures decreased, two measures increased and one remained the same.

Personal Financial Situation

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

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months is slightly higher at -9 this month; this is 14 points lower than May 2019.

General Economic Situation

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has dropped seven points to -55; this is 25 points lower than in May 2019.

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months are down one point at -54 points; this is 25 points lower than May 2019.

Major Purchase Index

The Major Purchase Index has increased two points to -47 in May; this is 48 points lower than it was in May 2019.

Savings Index

The Savings Index has stayed the same in May at +14; this is two points lower than at this time last year.


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 May 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). However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the press release will be produced a week earlier with a further COVID-19 flash report two weeks afterwards. The next COVID-19 flash report will be issued on Friday June 5th
  • 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:

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