LONDON: Consumer confidence in the UK fell to 41 points in March, compared with 43 points in February, reports a survey by Nationwide, which also forecasts that shoppers' spending levels in the country are likely to remain stable in the short-term.

Based on a study of 1,000 consumers, Nationwide's monthly "present situation index", which assesses the current climate, fell by three points, with 5% of respondents arguing the current economic situation is "good", compared with just 2% in February.

The longer-term "expectations index" also fell by two points, which could perhaps be an indicator that consumers have "recognised that their household incomes are likely to be affected by the recession."

Some 39% of participants also think the economy will be in the same condition in six months as now, and 65% expect there will be fewer jobs available in six months time than at present.

Nationwide's "spending index" remained static with a score of 94, a figure that "most likely reflects continued discounting on the high street" rather than the "desire to buy, especially given the slowdown in retail sales reported in February."

The number of consumers who think "now is a good time" to make a major purchase was also flat at 38%, with 16% of those surveyed disagreeing with this statement.

Data sourced from Nationwide; additional content by WARC staff