Consumers hold on to their cash as confidence drops yet again

Consumer confidence has now been in negative territory for two-and-a-half years and shows no signs of improving in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU next year.

Consumers seem set on “self-imposed” austerity as their confidence in the economy and their own financial situation continues to deteriorate.

According to GfK, consumer confidence fell by two points in June to -9, marking two-and-a-half years in negative territory. And there is even more bad news for Britain’s struggling retail sector, with consumers’ propensity to make a purchase falling by a point to 0.

The economic mood in particular remains in the doldrums, with consumers view of the general economic situation over the past 12 months and over the next 12 months falling by four points to -28 and -25 respectively. This despite encouraging numbers, with the stock market testing new highs, a strong jobs market, rising real incomes and low interest rates.

That is in stark contrast to 2015, when there was a full year of positive numbers, with the trend since then “resolutely downwards” and little sign this will change in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU.

GfK Consumer Confidence June 2018

“Negative scores on the economy are a muzzle on consumer confidence,” says Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK. “People need to feel fired up by economic prospects before the overall consumer confidence index can deliver any excitement.”

Consumers’ negative feelings towards the economy are in contrast to their feelings about their own financial situation. While these measures also fell in June, consumers are still feeling positive about their own situation over the next 12 months, with the score at 6.

“There’s an odd mismatch of positive scores for personal finance contrasting with very negative scores for how we see the wider economy,” explains Staton.

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