UK consumer confidence in ‘surprise rebound’, says GfK

UK consumer confidence rose by seven points in February as all measures increased, including big-ticket items.

According to the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Index, overall figures saw an increase by seven points to -38 in February 2023.

The Major Purchase Index, which includes big ticket items such as furniture, is up three points to -37; this is 22 points lower than this month last year.

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months is up six points at -65; this is 15 points lower than in February 2022. 

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months increased five points to -26; this is 15 points worse than February 2022.

The Savings Index is up five points this month at +19; this is five points higher than this time last year.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director GfK, says: “Despite widely reported headwinds of inflation continuing to outstrip wage rises, and the ongoing household challenge from the cost-of-living crisis, consumers have suddenly shown more optimism about the state of their personal finances and the general economic situation, especially for the coming year. While it’s too early to talk about ‘green shoots of recovery’, the uptick across all measures should be welcomed.

“But what’s happening? Are people simply fed up with hearing bad news? Do they see a milder recession than the pundits predicted? Do they sense the most worrying phase of the energy crisis is over? The headline consumer confidence score is still severely depressed and the mood as well as the economy remain a long way off pre-lockdown levels, but a little consumer resilience might be what we need to soften any downturn in 2023. However, many challenges remain and this may be nothing more than a bubble of hope – and bubbles always burst.”

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