Consumer confidence stalls as Brexit concerns ‘hit home’

Consumer confidence levels were held at zero in March, according to the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Index, as concerns about Britain’s status in Europe finally “hit home”.

Brits’ outlook for the economy over the next 12 months has a score of -12 this month – an 18 point fall from where it stood in March 2015.

The major purchase index, which calculates the likelihood of consumers spending on big products such as electronic equipment or furniture, fell one point to +11.

Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said concerns about Brexit are now being reflected in consumer’s purchasing habits and has warned brands to take heed.

He told Marketing Week: “If you stand back and look at how the Index has performed since its lowest point ever of -39 in July 2008, the general trend has been firmly upwards. That general upwards trend surely has further to go. But we shouldn’t expect any turnaround before the results of the 23 June EU Referendum are known.”

gfk
The March consumer confidence index shows the impact of Brexit fears, according to GfK

“The concerns about Brexit are certainly being reflected now. With the main Index coming in at zero two months in a row, there is a strong note of caution. I’d see this note of caution growing over the next three months, as concerns about Brexit and the ongoing Eurozone crisis appear to be hitting home.”

UK consumers appear to be overwhelmingly negative in their view of how the British economy has performed over the last year. The score, which came in at -10 this month, is 11 points lower than in March 2015.

It wasn’t all negative in the March index, however, with UK consumers remaining upbeat about their personal financial situation over the next 12 months, with he score up 1 point to +9.

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