Consumers feeling ‘optimistic’ about UK economy in run-up to general election

Consumer confidence in the UK economy was up for a third month in a row in June, though a new period of uncertainty could be on the horizon.

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Consumer confidence continued on an upward trajectory in June, according to GfK’s latest Consumer Confidence Barometer. The figures could provide an opportunity for marketers to “invest in their brand”, says GfK. 

The overall consumer confidence score increased by three points from May to -14 in June, with the general economic situation over the last 12 months seeing the greatest increase, up seven points to -32, a marked improvement on last year’s -54. 

People are also feeling cheerier about the general economic situation over the next 12 months, which saw a six point month-on-month increase to -11, again, more positive than the same month last year when it was -25. In line with this, the major purchase index was up three points to -23, showing people believe it is a better time to make big purchases such as furniture or electrical goods. 

The consumer confidence scores published today (21 June) will be the last before the general election on 4 July.

While the improvements suggest consumers are taking a “more sympathetic” view of the economy, GfK client strategy director Joe Staton highlights the headline score is still in negative territory and reflects the difficulties many households have experienced amid the cost-of-living crisis. These challenges are further underscored in additional data released by Kantar this week, which shows while grocery price inflation continues to fall, sales are growing at their weakest level since June 2022. 

“It will be some time before the majority of people feel any real sense that life is easier,” says Staton.

So what does this all mean for marketers?  

“The picture will be clearer once the result of the general election is known but marketers have all the skills required to navigate any uncertainty,” Staton says.

“However, the current improved mood on the economy is to be welcomed and marketers should continue investing in their brands so that they are in good health for when we have finally left the woes of the cost-of-living crisis behind us.” 

Elsewhere, the index shows people are feeling less confident about their personal financial situation over the next 12 months, down three points but still in positive territory at +4. There has been no change to their views about their financial situation over the past 12 months, sitting at a steady -10. 

The Savings Index also dropped five points versus May to 22, which is lower than last June’s 25, showing people think now is a worse time to save than this time last year. 

“Consumers like financial certainty, and this has to be the cornerstone if we are to see confidence break out into positive territory,” adds Staton.