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GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index has increased three points to –11 for December. Four measures increased, and one measure decreased this month.
Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says: “There’s a clear sense of a change in consumer sentiment this month. The picture for the year to come is much stronger with a two-point improvement in how consumers view their personal financial prospects and a very healthy seven-point jump on how they see the wider economy next year.
"We haven’t seen such a robust increase in confidence about our economic future since the summer of 2016. Despite official warning signs about the flat-lining of Britain’s economy, we know that record high employment and below target levels of inflation are helping to boost consumers’ expectations for the year ahead. Importantly, for the retail sector, we also have an upwards revision in our Major Purchase Index, a key figure during the remaining shopping days of 2019.
"The Overall Index Score has failed to break into positive territory for the past four years due to confusion and uncertainty about the future direction of the UK. A great many people will be gazing into their crystal balls right now; ours indicates a rebound in confidence in 2020 based on renewed optimism and energy for a post-Brexit Britain.”
The Overall Index Score in December 2019 is -11. Four measures increased, and one measure decreased this month.
The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has decreased by three points this month to -3; this is two points lower than December 2018.
The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has increased two points to +3 this month; this is four points higher than December 2018.
The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has increased three points this month to -31; this is the same as December 2018.
Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have increased seven points to -27; this is 11 points higher than December 2018.
The Major Purchase Index increased three points in December to +3; this is one point higher than December 2018.
The Savings Index is unchanged in December at +18; this is two points higher than at this time last year.
Download the GfK Consumer Confidence UK charts - December 2019
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.
The UK Consumer Confidence Survey from GfK 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 2nd – 11th December 2019.
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 January is Friday 31st January 2020.
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
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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