Consumer confidence up but still “severely depressed”

Consumer confidence recovered in January, according to a study, but despite the surprising new year reverse it remains “severely depressed” and marketers have been warned to treat the improvement with caution.

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The GfK NOP “Consumer Confidence Index”, which gauges the confidence level of consumers across Europe each month, increased by four points to -29 in January.

Falling inflation prompted by discounting and recently announced energy price cuts were cited for the lift in mood.

“Non-economic influences” such as the “hangover from the Christmas feelgood factor” were also offered as reasons for improved optimism among consumers.

The better news was tempered, however, by a warning that the threat of a double dip recession and a drop in GDP could scupper the recovery in sentiment.

Nick Moon, managing director of GfK NOP social research, says: “Consumer confidence is still seriously depressed and we should treat this month’s modest improvement with caution.

“Should February show another rise then we may be seeing signs that the gloom is dispelling – until then we should treat January’s findings as good, but certainly not great, news.”

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