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UK consumer confidence stays weak, but it's not getting any worse

Published
Apr 30, 2019
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UK consumers seem to be remaining calm with sentiment weak but not getting weaker overall, the latest GfK consumer confidence report showed on Tuesday.


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The researcher said that its long-running Consumer Confidence Index stayed at the same level of -13 in April as it has been at for most of this year.

The measure for the personal financial situation over the last 12 months was down by one point at -1, compared to March, although it was level compared to April last year. Consumers seem to be neutral about their personal financial situation for the next 12 months though as it was at zero. But that was a decline compared to March when it was at +2 and last April when it was +4.

Their view of the general economic situation over last 12 months remained bleak at -30, although it rose 3 points compared to March. But it was still down one point compared to April last year. And their opinion of the general economic situation for the 12 months ahead looks even worse with a reading of -34. This may have been up two points compared to March but it was a whole 10 points worse than a year ago.

Consumers still seem to be prepared to make big purchases, although their enthusiasm is waning slightly. The major purchase index is at -1, which isn't great, but could be worse. It was down two points compared to March and four points compared to April 2018.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, said: “We have reported a -13 headline for the past three months and it appears it’s a case of ‘Keep Calm’ when it comes to how confident consumers are feeling right now. Despite political carry-on in the Westminster bubble with the clock ticking on Britain’s eventual departure from the EU, consumers are holding firm and remain unshaken by the daily headlines of turmoil and intrigue, although we remain in negative territory. 

“This month we are reporting a dip in the measures for our personal financial situation looking back a year and ahead to the coming year, but this is balanced by a small increase in our perspective on the state of the UK economy. The further two-point drop in our measure on ‘major purchases’ suggests more challenges in the near future at least for the retail sector.”

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