Consumers Feel Brighter About UK Economy

01 November 2004

British consumers' confidence has risen slightly, despite house price falls and a nagging notion that they should be saving more.

Figures for October, released by researcher GFK Martin Hamblin, show shoppers are happier about buying bigger items as confidence edged up by one point from September to minus 6.

However, says GFK director Grant Montague: "Despite the one point increase…consumer confidence in the economy is still relatively weak compared to recent years."

Insecurity about personal finances, especially levels of debt and alarmingly poor pension prospects, has boosted the number of those believing that "now is a good time to save money" to +23.

But previous experience has shown that even when confidence is low consumers continue shop in the UK.

In September, for example, the GfK headline index slumped to -7, the lowest level since March 2003. But motivated by slashed prices shoppers girded their loins, polished their plastic and sustained the fastest growth in retail sales since the year began.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff