While the researcher’s top consumer index figure slipped to -1 in September, from +1 in August, GfK says there has been a “period of stability over the past five months” that has seen it fluctuate by only two points. This means that although most customers aren’t feeling better off, they are increasingly confident in making large purchases.
The GfK report found that the score for whether it is the “right time to make a major purchase” increased to its highest level for six months in September to 0, from -1 in August. The figure is also 14 points higher than it was this time last year.
“Whilst consumers are not feeling any better off it overall, what can be seen as good news for retailers is the measure for ‘right time for major purchases’ which has shown increases recently and is now the highest it’s been since February 2014,” says Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK.
Propensity to make large purchase was the only one of the five major consumer confidence indicators to see an increase in September, as the headline index figure fell from the nine-year high it reached in August.
Signals including household finances and economic mood all fell compared to the previous month, with the biggest drops seen in household expectations over the next 12 months. This despite the fact that GDP is on the rise and that the economy is expected to see 3.5 per cent growth over the next year, the best rate for almost 10 years.
Overall, consumer confidence is up compared to a year ago when the score was down at -10.