Consumer Confidence Index

Thursday 21st December 2017

December 2017 Consumer Confidence Briefing

The monthly UK Consumer Confidence Barometer (CCB) undertaken by GfK on behalf of the European Commission* is 1 point down in December at-13.

  • It is 6 points lower than a year ago (-7).
  • Confidence is down in 3 of the 6 regions in December.
  • Biggest fall is in Northern Ireland, down 11 points at -29, followed by Wales, 5 points lower at -17 and the North shedding 4 points to -15.
  • Biggest rise is in Scotland with confidence jumping 5 points to -19. In the South and Midlands, sentiment gained 2 points to -10 and -9 respectively.

Of the 5 measures comprising the headline measure:

  • The financial situation of households over the past 12 months is 2 points lower at -3 compared to November, and down 3 points on a year ago
  • The expected financial situation of households over the next 12 months is unchanged on the month, 1 point down on a year ago
  • The general economic situation measure over the past 12 months is up 1 point on the month at -31, but 5 points below December 2016 (-26)
  • The general economic situation measure in the coming 12 months is unchanged in December at -28, and 5 points down on 12 months ago (-23)
  • The measure of consumer sentiment to making major purchases in the current economic situation fell by 1 point on the month to -4 and is 16 points below December 2016 (+12).

The survey also asks other questions about spending and saving. 

  • Expected spending on major purchases (such as furniture or electrical goods) in the next 12 months compared with the previous 12 months shed 1 point in December to -11 and is 5 points lower than 12 months ago (-6). 
  • Peoples’ perception of the saving climate deteriorated in December. 46% of adults regard it as a good time to save, 3 points lower on the month, but 5 points above a year ago. 51% of households are currently saving, 4 points down on the month, and 5 points lower than a year ago (56%).
  • In the next 12 months 55% of adults say they are likely to save, 4 points lower than in November, and down 2 points on a year ago (57%).
  • Households overall financial position (20) is at its lowest in 3 years, 2 point down on November, and 4 points below December 2016.

The jobs outlook weakened further in December.

  • The measure of unemployment expectations is 3 points worse at +20 on the month, and 1 point worse than 12 months ago (+19). A higher score represents rising unemployment expectations.
  • A net balance of 27% of adults (22%, November) believes unemployment will rise in the next 12 months (28% December 2016). The measure of inflation expectations (86) is 3 points better than in November, and 7 points better than a year ago (93) .

John Gilbert, Chief Executive of JGFR commented: “There is little seasonal cheer this Christmas as consumers feel gloomy and uncertain about the future. The inability of the UK government to offer a clear vision that brings people together rather than divide is set to continue in 2018 with households’ living standards taking the brunt of the economic pain as resources are devoted to make sure Brexit is delivered come what may

*The UK Consumer Confidence Survey was conducted by GfK NOP among a sample of 2,000 adults aged 16+, representative of the UK population, and carried out between 1-15 December 2017. The JGFR December 2017 UK Consumer Confidence Monitor will be published on Friday December 29th.