Consumer confidence ‘sits just above 2008 low point’

Consumer confidence is teetering just above its 2008 historic low point, according to an index.

Research carried out between May 20 and 26 found confidence had deteriorated over the previous two weeks.

The report from GfK (Growth from Knowledge) measuring households’ perceptions of their own finances and the wider economy found confidence had decreased by two points to minus 36.

This was just three points shy of a historic low confidence score for the index of minus 39 in July 2008.

Behind the overall score, perceptions about personal finances and the wider economy over the past 12 months and next 12 months deteriorated.

Attitudes to making major purchases were slightly less downbeat in the latest research, although the score on this measure remained negative, moving from minus 47 in the last survey to minus 41 in the latest research.

Joe Staton, GfK’s client strategy director, said: “GfK’s third Covid-19 flash report records drops across key measures to minus 36, just three points shy of the historic low of minus 39 in July 2008.

“Against a backdrop of falling house prices, soaring jobless claims and with no sign of a rapid V-shaped bounce-back on the cards, consumers remain pessimistic about the state of their finances and the wider economic picture for the year to come.

“The only bright spark in the numbers is for the major purchase index with a six point fillip, pointing to latent demand among shoppers across the UK despite most outlets remaining shuttered.

“As the lockdown eases, it will be interesting to see just how the consumer appetite for spending returns in a world of socially-distanced shopping and the seismic shift to online retailing – alongside worries of a fresh spike in Covid-19 cases as relaxations increase.”

Some 2,000 people aged 16 and over were surveyed.

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