Consumers ‘get the jitters’ over economy, but still plan to spend at Christmas

Even though concerns over the economy persist, British consumers are still planning to “splash out” in the run-up to Christmas.

christmas shopping

Consumer confidence fell once again in October as concerns over the falling value of the pound and uncertainty over the way in which the UK will leave the EU continued.

According to the latest survey by GfK, consumer confidence was down by one point in October to -3 in a move that Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, called a “rebalancing act” after a recovery from the post-referendum low of -12.

British consumers’ confidence in the general economic situation over the next 12 months fell sharply by eight points to -17, while their feelings about the economic situation over the last 12 months dropped three points to -19.

Staton says: “That sharp dip tells you that people are looking at how the economy will shape up next year – and they clearly feel the jitters.”


However, those worries are yet to impact on consumer spending. The major purchase index rose by five points in October to 14, suggesting this Christmas could see bumper sales for retailers.

“It certainly looks like people are sensing that inflation could rise, and that interest rates might need to go up in tandem,” adds Staton. “The time to splash out on furniture or electrical goods is now. Is this good news for retailers looking ahead to Black Friday and to robust Christmas trading? I think it is.”