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London, 19.02.2021

Uptick in consumer confidence boosted by hopes for UK economy

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index increased five points to -23 in February. Four measures increased in comparison to the January 22nd announcement and one measure was flat.

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?”

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – February 2021

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.

Personal Financial Situation

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.

General Economic Situation

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.

Major Purchase Index

The Major Purchase Index has increased by five points to -19 in February; this is 25 points lower than it was in February 2020.

Savings Index

The Savings Index is up by one point only to +19 in February; this is just one point lower than this time last year.

Download the data charts: 

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About the survey

  • The UK Consumer Confidence Barometer is conducted by GfK
  • Any published material requires a reference to GfK e.g. ‘Research carried out 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 1st February and 12th February 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 March 19th. The next three dates after that are: April 23rd, May 21st and June 25th.
  • 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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