Consumer confidence weakening after Brexit vote, website study shows

Consumers' financial behaviour since the vote to leave the EU suggests their confidence is weakening, according to an index.

The index from comparison website MoneySuperMarket tracks how people are interacting with the website to get an overall indication of consumer confidence.

Unlike studies which ask people how confident they are feeling about their finances, MoneySuperMarket's index looks at how they are behaving when they go to the website, such as when they are looking for quotes for car or home insurance or a personal loan.

It found that people are generally searching for motor insurance policies with higher excess levels - a sign of weakened confidence as people are trying to push down the costs of their premiums.

The average voluntary excess people want to pay is £274.18 - £1.71 higher than in November last year.

The proportion of people preferring to pay annually up front, rather than in monthly instalments, has gone down to 53.84%, compared with 54.5% in July.

The proportion of enquiries from people searching for loans to cover debt is 28.49%, the highest since December 2013.

People are also looking to borrow more than they were a few months ago, at £10,319 on average - £465 higher than in July.

MoneySuperMarket said there has been a "small shift" away from people looking for loans for items classed as luxuries, such as cars and holidays.

However, more home insurance quote searches involve properties undergoing building work, in a sign that people are still willing to invest money in their property and have confidence in the housing market.

MoneySuperMarket said consumer confidence generally tends to fall in October, due to the financial pressures leading up to Christmas.

Kevin Pratt, a consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: "As we approach the financial strains of Christmas and start to worry about high winter energy bills, confidence has clearly taken a bit of a beating.

"There are lots of mixed signals about the bigger economic picture at the moment and that climate of uncertainty is clearly feeding through to how Brits feel about their finances."