Get a demo Do I subscribe? News sign-up
Print

UK confidence falls sharply

News, 29 July 2016

LONDON: Consumer confidence in the UK plunged 11 points to -12 in July, the sharpest monthly fall since March 1990, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index from GfK.

The research firm has been measuring British consumer confidence since 1974 and described this month's fall as "dramatic" and directly linked to anxieties about Brexit, the UK's decision in a referendum in June to leave the European Union.

All five measures used to calculate GfK's Index saw decreases this month, including a huge 19 point fall to -33 for expectations about the general economic situation over the next 12 months. This is now 32 points lower than in July 2015.

The measure for the general economic situation over the last 12 months dropped 12 points in July to -25, or 24 points lower than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months decreased by seven points in July to -1; the major purchase index fell 11 points to -2, or 13 points lower than in July 2015; and the savings index decreased four points to +1.

Overall, UK consumer confidence registered a further -3 point drop from the -9 recorded by GfK for its special Brexit edition that it released in early July.

As then, GfK also calculated consumer confidence by region, showing that southern England has a consumer confidence score of -11 whereas Scotland, which along with London voted in favour of remaining in the EU, now has a grim reading of -22 points.

Consumer confidence in Wales, which voted to leave, fares little better at -20 points, although the outlook is relatively more upbeat in the English Midlands (-9 points) and Northern Ireland (-4 points). The former voted to leave while the latter voted to remain.

"Consumers in post-Brexit Britain are reporting higher levels of concern this month," said Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, as he described the decline as a "very significant drop in confidence".

However, on a more positive note, he observed that the GfK Index continued to remain at a relatively "elevated level" by historic standards, although much depends on what happens in the future.

"Its future trajectory depends on whether we enter a new period of damaging economic uncertainty or restore confidence by embracing a positive stance on negotiating a new deal for the UK," he said.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff