Consumer confidence up three points as lockdown loosens

GfK’s latest flash report brings some good news ahead of this weekend’s ‘re-opening day’, but comes with a warning about a fragile economy.

ShoppingSocialDistanceUK consumer confidence is slowly on the rise as the country prepares for a return to pre-pandemic trading from 4 July.

Having been as low as -36 last month, GfK’s fourth Covid-19 ‘flash’ report reveals the overall index score rose by three points to -27 during the period from 18-26 June.

Introduced specifically to gauge the impact of the pandemic on the economy, the flash report found confidence in personal financial situations rose by four points over the past 12 months, and by one point looking ahead to the next year.

There was also an upswing in hope for the general economic situation over the next year, up by six points.

The major purchase index (MPI), GfK’s measure of whether consumers feel the time is currently right to make a major purchase such as furniture or electrical goods, saw a seven-point increase, up to -25. In April, the MPI dropped by 50 points and sat at -52.

The one decrease in the report referred to confidence in the general economic situation over the past 12 months, down by one point.

ConsumerConfidenceGraph“Three increases in a row from the very depressing score of -36, that almost beat the record,” says GfK’s client strategy director, Joe Staton.

“And for our latest ‘Covid-19 flash’ we see the major purchase sub-measure jump seven points to -25, a big change from the -52 we recorded for purchase intentions of items such as furniture or electrical goods on 6 April.”

However, Staton added that we are certainly not out of the woods yet. With the savings index still on the decrease, down three points (but sitting separately from the measurements within the overall score index), the reluctance of people to put any money into savings is a stark reminder of economic woes looming on the horizon.

“Reason to celebrate? Hardly. The message to marketers is ‘don’t put out the bunting just yet’. Things are beginning to loosen up in the UK, but that’s precisely what many are worried about – from the man or woman in the street to leading experts and pundits,” Staton adds.

“We are told by some that the worst is yet to come and it won’t take much in the way of bad news to send consumer confidence tumbling back down.”