Brexit concerns making an impact as UK consumer confidence drops to zero

Consumer confidence levels decreased four points to zero in February, according to the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Index, as it warns of the start of a long-term dip preempted by consumer’ concerns over Britain’s status within Europe.

The major purchase index, which calculates the likelihood of consumer propensity to spend big on products such as electronic equipment or furniture, fell four points this month to +12. Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, says that although it is eight points higher than February 2015, it could point to the start of a long-term dip.

He told Marketing Week: “The intention to spend on ‘major purchases’ has dipped but people are not thinking about saving their money as an alternative – the Savings Index has slid backwards by a sizeable amount too.

I said in January that February’s barometer would make for interesting reading but it’s difficult to second guess March. Are we at the start of a longer dip downwards? Or are we in a gloomy Brexit holding pattern perhaps with the next chapter hidden from view until the result of the June referendum is known?”

Doom and gloom returns

Four of the five measures used to calculate the Index saw declines this month, with only one recording a rise.

British consumer’s perception of their own personal finances over the next 12 months fell one point to +8. However, there were steeper falls in terms of their outlook to the wider economy.

GFKThere is still an air of uncertainty around the general economic situation of the UK – expectations for the next 12 months have fallen seven points to -7, this is four points lower than this time last year. The score for how consumers have viewed the British economy over the last 12 months, meanwhile, fell 7 points to -10 this month.

The index measuring changes in personal finances over the last 12 months increased by one point this month to +5; this is eight points higher than February 2015 and the only metric to show a gain.

Staton says the negative outlook on the British economy signifies the end of ‘New Year optimism’.

He added: “While faith in our own personal financial situation continues to remain strong for the year ahead with just a one-point drop to +8 points, we are clearly worried about the general economic situation for the country.

“Here, there have been sharp drops both for the view over the past year and the coming year. So, despite the positive impact of continued low interest rates and subdued inflation on our day-to-day household budgets, the feeble outlook for growth and a variety of economic uncertainties since the start of the year has depressed our New Year optimism.”


The entry deadline for the Marketing Week Awards is the 2nd March. Click here to find out more about the awards, or enter now.

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