September 2018 Consumer Confidence Briefing

02 Oct 2018 | Research & Business Knowledge

The monthly UK Consumer Confidence Barometer (CCB), undertaken by GfK on behalf of the European Commission*, fell 2 points in September to -9, unchanged on a year ago. 
Confidence is up in 3, and down in 3 of the 6 regions.  Biggest confidence gain in September is in Wales 7 points higher at -7; confidence in Scotland also rose strongly up 5 points to -8 and is up 2 points in the North to -7.  Biggest fall is in Northern Ireland, slumping by 16 points to -10. Sentiment fell by 5 points in the Midlands, also at -10 and by 4 points in the South to -9 
.Of the 5 sub-measures comprising the headline measure:

  • The financial situation of households over the past 12 months is 3 points lower at +1 compared to August, but is up 2 points on a year ago (-1) 
  • The expected financial situation of households over the next 12 months is 3 points down on August at +5, but is 1 point up on September 2017 (+4) 
  • The general economic situation measure over the past 12 months shed 2 points in September to -28, and is unchanged on 12 months ago  
  • The general economic situation measure in the coming 12 months edged down 1 point on the month at -27, and is 3 points lower than September 2017  (-24) 
  • The measure of consumer sentiment to making major purchases in the current economic situation is unchanged at +6 on the month, and is up 5 points on a year ago (+1) 

 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 is up 3 points on August at -5, and on a year ago (-8).  Spending confidence on major purchases of household goods is 3 points higher than in August and 8 points up on September 2017.  
Saving confidence fell back in September with fewer people likely to save in the next 12 months (58% v 61%, August), and a drop in people believing it being a good time to save (52% v 54% August).  Compared to September 2017 saving confidence is much improved (+31 vs +21). Currently 54% of households are saving, down from 57% in August and unchanged on a year ago.  Households overall financial position (24) weakened on the month by 3 points, and is down 2 points on a year ago but is above the long term average (+20).. 
The jobs outlook improved a little in September.  The measure of unemployment expectations is 2 points better at +20 on the month, but down 7 points on a year ago (+13). A higher score represents rising unemployment expectations.  A net balance of 27% of adults (28%, August) believes unemployment will rise in the next 12 months (18%, September 2017).  The measure of inflation expectations in August (93) improved by 1 point on the month, but worsened by 4 points on 12 months ago (89) 
 John Gilbert, Chief Executive of JGFR commented: 
 “Falling confidence in September reflects weaker household finances on the month, with household savings falling, although spending confidence on major household goods jumped to a 19-month high.  Retail spending may continue to surprise this autumn as consumers bring forward purchases before Brexit and boost Q4 GDP.  That said, economic uncertainty increased in September and will continue to weigh down on confidence for the foreseeable future.  Both JGFR Financial Wellbeing and Feelgood measures fell back in September with the latter at a 22-month low” 
*The UK Consumer Confidence Survey was conducted by GfK NOP among a sample of 2,001 adults aged 16+, representative of the UK population, and carried out between 1-18 September 2018. The JGFR September 2018 UK Consumer Confidence Monitor will be published on Wednesday October 3rd. 

Notes and Enquiries:  
John Gilbert 07740 027968 / 0208 944 7510 email:; 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.