Consumer Confidence down to lowest-ever score

UK consumer confidence continues to nosedive as cost-of-living crisis impacts big ticket purchases.

According to the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Index, overall figures saw a decrease of two points to -40 in May, its lowest score since records began in 1974. Four measures were down in comparison to the April 22nd announcement, and one was up.

The Major Purchase Index, which includes big ticket items such as furniture, has decreased by three points to -35; this is 28 points lower than it was this month last year.

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months is down three points at -63; this is 15 points lower than in May 2021. 

The index measuring changes in personal finances over the last 12 months has decreased three points to -22; this is 18 points worse than May 2021.

The Savings Index is the same as last month at +10; this is 12 points lower than this time last year.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director GfK, says: “The GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer recorded a headline score of -40 in May, the worst since our records began in 1974. This comes as UK unemployment hits a 50-year low with vacancies outnumbering job seekers for the first time, and inflation peaking at a 40-year high driven by soaring food and fuel bills. May’s result is one point lower than the previous record set in July 2008 when the headline score plunged to -39.

“This means consumer confidence is now weaker than in the darkest days of the global banking crisis, the impact of Brexit on the economy, or the Covid shutdown. Consumer pessimism is most evident in depressed sub-measures on the general economy at -63 for the past year and -56 for the coming year.

“The Major Purchase Index has decreased for each of the past six months and is now at -35, reflecting the latest dismal set of retail sales figures. Even the Bank of England is pessimistic, with Governor Andrew Bailey this week offering no hope of tackling inflation. The outlook for consumer confidence is gloomy, and nothing on the economic horizon shows a reason for optimism any time soon.”

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