Brexit 1 year count down - consumer confidence


Thursday 19th April 2018

February 2018 Consumer Confidence Briefing

The monthly UK Consumer Confidence Barometer (CCB) undertaken by GfK on behalf of the European Commission* is 1 point lower in February at -10. It is 2 points lower than a year ago (-8).

Confidence is up in 4 of the 6 regions in February. Biggest gains are in the North, Wales and Scotland, all up by 5 points to -7, -6 and -13 respectively. In the Midlands sentiment is 1 point up at -8 In the South and Northern Ireland confidence slumped; by 7 points to -12 in the former, and by 8 points to -24 in the latter.

Of the 5 measures comprising the headline measure:

  • The financial situation of households over the past 12 months is 1 point higher at 0 compared to January and is down 1 point on a year ago
  • The expected financial situation of households over the next 12 months shed 1 point on the month to +5, 2 points down on a year ago • The general economic situation measure over the past 12 months is unchanged on the month at -29, but 8 points below February 2017 (-21)
  • The general economic situation measure in the coming 12 months is 2 points worse in February at -26, 6 points below 12 months ago (-20)
  • The measure of consumer sentiment to making major purchases in the current economic situation dropped 1 point to zero on the month and is 5 points below February 2017 (+5)

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 improved in February, up 2 points to -9, and is unchanged on a year ago. Spending confidence on major purchase of household goods is down 5 points compared to February 2017.

Despite a sell-off in financial markets, peoples’ perception of the saving climate improved for the second successive month. 51% of adults regard it as a good time to save, 2 points up on the month, and 10 points above a year ago. 56% of households are currently saving, unchanged on the month, and up 1 point on a year ago. In the next 12 months 60% of adults say they are likely to save, unchanged on January, and 3 points up on a year ago (57%). Households overall financial position (23) weakened compared to January (25), and is little changed on a year ago (24). It is above the long term average (20).

The jobs outlook improved for the second successive month in February. The measure of unemployment expectations is 2 points better at +16 on the month, and up 1 point, on a year ago (+17). A higher score represents rising unemployment expectations. A net balance of 23% of adults (unchanged, January) believes unemployment will rise in the next 12 months (unchanged also February 2017). The measure of inflation expectations (87) is 2 points better than in January, and 4 points better than a year ago (91) .

John Gilbert, Chief Executive of JGFR commented: 

 “As often happens in February sentiment slips back following a January bounce. This month is notable for changes in regional confidence, turning down sharply in London and the South East, and also among higher earners, with many based in the South. Such falls in confidence among the most economically active segments suggest weaker growth prospects in the current quarter”  

*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 February 2017. The JGFR February 2018 UK Consumer Confidence Monitor will be published on Thursday March 8th. 

Notes and Enquiries: John Gilbert 07740 027968 / 0208 944 7510 email: j.gilbert@jgfr.co.uk; twitter @JohnGilbertJGFR A more detailed view of the current mood of consumers can be found in the monthly UK Consumer Confidence Monitor that analyses: • Trends in consumer confidence • Consumer confidence across income bands • Gender inequality in confidence • Confidence across the generations • Regional confidence • Changing shifts in main consumer confidence components • Financial Wellbeing • Spending confidence • Saving confidence • Household finances • The cost of living • Unemployment • The Feel-Good factor JGFR has been monitoring the mood of consumers in detail since the 1990s. We have extensive trend data on the consumer that also covers financial activity and Brexit.