Marketers ‘searching in vain’ for a consumer confidence boost

Latest figures from GfK show general pessimism about the UK’s economic future have extended to feelings around personal finances

Consumer confidence dropped two points in April, marking 28 consecutive months without a positive overall index score and painting “a gloomy picture” of consumers’ mindset.

According to GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index, all measures but one fell, leading the overall score to decrease to -9 — two points lower than April last year.

Consumers’ view of their ‘personal finance situation’ over the next 12 months fell by six points to +4, reversing the positive jump last month. In March, the personal finance measure doubled from five to 10 points.

The major purchase index, which measures propensity to buy a major good such as a sofa, crept up by one point. Despite this increase it still lags three points behind April 2017.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, says: “It’s not unreasonable to expect that the economic pessimism will sooner or later feed through more strongly to feelings on personal finances. It’s a gloomy picture overall.”

He adds: “The view on personal finances for the past year and coming year jumped in March but now that has been reversed in April. The personal finance picture has been broadly flat for many months – the scores for the past year and coming year today are the same as September 2017 and almost the same as August 2016. But the last-year and next-year measures on the wider economy clearly reveal ‘that sinking feeling’. We have -29 and -24 this month versus +3 and +6 three years ago in April 2015.

“We may have had a surprising burst of sunny weather recently; but we are still searching in vain for a burst of consumer confidence.”

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