Major purchases ‘less of a priority’ as UK adjusts to life under lockdown

Consumers’ attitudes towards the economy, their personal financial situations and purchasing have stabilised but they are still only hovering just above the historic lows recorded in 2008.

Consumer confidence has neither worsened nor improved since the start of April, with GfK’s confidence index holding steady at -34 since its Covid-19 flash barometer on 6 April.

There has been a three-point rise in expectations for personal finances for the next 12 months, while expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months are the same at -56 points.

The major purchase index, meanwhile, has stayed at -52 – this is 51 points lower than it was in April 2019 – while the savings index has increased by one point in April, which is seven points lower than the same time last year.

“One of the many business impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak is that what we call ‘major purchases’ have become less of a priority,” says GfK’s client strategy director, Joe Staton.

“Unfortunately, major purchases are not top of mind for consumers as they knuckle down to the rigours of social distancing.”

Households have been making substantial online purchases across a whole range of product categories including TVs, kitchen appliances, freezers, home office equipment, and even shavers and hair clippers. However, the sudden peaks in demand for these items have done little to dent the wider decline in retail sales.

“Digital shopping is all well and good but what the high street wants right now is the return of post-lockdown footfall,” Staton adds.



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