Consumers favour spending over saving this Christmas

Following a nosedive last month, British consumers’ major purchase intent showed signs of recovery in November according to GfK’s latest UK Consumer Confidence Index.

Shopping centre

The major purchase intent score hit 9 In November, compared to just 7 in October; the latter a score that fell considerably from 14 points in September 2015.

However, British consumers appear to be in a much more confident mood moving into the December’s gifting period than they were 12 months ago, with the purchase intent score up 9 points from November 2014.

Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said retail brands can go into Christmas with confidence.

He told Marketing Week: “You’d expect people to put money aside when consumer confidence wavers. Yet that’s not what people are telling us they are doing.  So we have an interesting picture of people willing to spend during a period of sliding depressed consumer confidence rather than looking to squirrel their spare cash away as a safeguard against it.

“It’s a slightly counter-intuitive combination but retailers will certainly welcome the fact that spending intentions are intact in the run-up to Christmas.”


A mixed picture

However, four of the other measures used to calculate consumer confidence were in decline this month.

The overall consumer index score fell 1 point from October, while consumers’ perception of the general economy decreased one point to -5.

Expectations for the economy over the next 12 months, meanwhile, fell two points to -6 – a rate six points lower than in November  2014.

And despite rising last month, British consumers’ personal finances also took a hit in November. The GfK index measuring personal finances during the last 12 months fell by three points this month to +1; although this is 8 points higher than a year ago.

Yet despite not being entirely confident of their current financial situation, consumers do still see better days ahead. For the third month in a row, consumer’s views of their personal finances over the next 12 months held at a score of 6; a rate 4 points higher than last year.

Staton concludes: “One area that continues to hold up is our expectation for our personal financial situation for the next 12 months. Shoppers also continue to tell us that now is the right time to make a major purchase – such as furniture or electrical goods – with this indicator standing nearly 10 points higher than in November last year.

“This suggests that lots of households up and down the land will be sitting on a new three-piece suite this December to watch Downton Abbey on an ever wider TV screen while digesting their Christmas turkey and all the trimmings.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here