'Season of uncertainty': UK consumer confidence drops to lowest point of the year

It looks like growing uncertainty about the UK leaving the EU in March continues to affect UK retail. UK consumer confidence dropped to its lowest point of the year in November, falling three points to -13, according to GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index.

Commenting on the results in a statement, Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, said: “Against a backdrop of the Chancellor telling everyone that the Brexit deal on the table will make people worse off, this month we’re recording an across the board fall for all measures with concerns over household finances, the general economy and purchase intentions.”

'Season of uncertainty': UK consumer confidence drops to lowest point of the year

‘Season of uncertainty’ as Brexit divorce date approaches

"The measure that fell the most is our Major Purchase Index, with a seven-point plunge that is unhappy news for retailers. The view on the general economy in the coming 12 months fell four points, as did the perception of the past year’s personal finances."

Expectations for the General Economic Situation over the next 12 months didn’t fair well, decreasing four points to -32 - it’s lowest point since 2016, shortly after the UK referendum.

'Season of uncertainty': UK consumer confidence drops to lowest point of the year

The Major Purchase Index decreased seven points in November to -3 - the same level as November 2017.

GfK’s index measuring changes in personal finances in the last 12 months decreased four points in November to -3 - two points lower than at the same point last year. Forecasted personal finances over the next 12 months has decreased one point to +3 in November - one point higher than November 2017.

"The next few weeks are highly unlikely to inject any festive cheer, especially if Theresa May’s Brexit deal doesn’t win backing from MPs,” Staton added.

“The denouement to more than two years of bewildering Brexit wheeler-dealing looks like it will be enacted precisely when many consumers would prefer to be thinking of a well-earned Christmas break, filled with family get-togethers, warmth and festivity - possibly turning this year’s ‘season of goodwill’ into ‘the season of uncertainty’."

GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted between 1-15 November with a sample of 2,003 people aged 16+ on behalf of the European Commission.

Photo credit: FashionUnited / GfK

 

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