Despite the self-imposed bans on booze, the effects of the post-Christmas financial pinch and Blue Monday being the most depressing day of the year, Brits were feeling surprisingly upbeat about their financial prospects and the general economic outlook in January 2018 – with the latest Consumer Confidence Barometer from GfK revealing an increase in confidence across all categories.
The overall index score in January came in at -9, a four point increase on December but still in negative territory and lower than the -5 recorded in January 2017.
The Major Purchase Index (whether it’s the right time to make a major purchase) recorded the largest increase (+5), followed by confidence in personal financial situation (+4) and the general economic situation (+4) over the next 12 months. However, the latter is still deep in negative water at -24.
GfK’s head of market dynamics Joe Staton says the latest scores suggest UK consumers are determined to start 2018 in a more “bullish” mood.
“Everything is up this month – but it’s interesting to note that all the ‘future-oriented’ components of consumer confidence are substantially up,” Staton tells Marketing Week.
“The consumer’s view on personal finances in the year ahead? Up four points – more than the two-point jump in the view of the past year. Feelings on the wider economy in the next 12 months? A strong increase, again at four points and bigger than the rise for the past year. Is it the right time to make a major purchase? A big jump in response to that question too – five points higher and we are now back into positive territory at +1.”
However, Staton says there are mixed messages at play, with one conundrum in particular.
“When people are ready to buy, you’d normally see a slide in savings intentions – but that’s up too at +10,” Staton explains. “We haven’t seen that level for savings intentions since the crisis period in autumn 2008.
“So a slightly mixed message there with a willingness to splash out but an eye on squirreling money away too. But all in all it’s a livelier start to the year than many of us would have expected.”