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May sees largest jump in consumer confidence for 18 years


Consumer confidence has risen at the fastest speed this month since May 1993, according to research published today.

GfK NOP’s latest barometer of consumer sentiment revealed a ten-point jump to -21 in May for its overall confidence index, compared to -31 in April, the largest increase in exactly 18 years.

Every area of measurement saw increases, including perceptions on the general economic situation over the last 12 months which rose 13 points, and people’s outlook on the economy over the next year which rose by 13 points.

Nick Moon, Managing Director of GfK NOP Social Research, commented: “We have seen an almost unprecedented jump in consumer confidence this month.

“May’s figures show the second largest rise ever – only May 1993 was higher, when it improved by 12 points. In the 449 months that the index has been running, single-month movement on this scale – either up or down – has only occurred on ten occasions.”

The general mood of customers seems to have lifted since the sunny bank holidays at the end of April but with the climate for major purchase still -26 on the GfK NOP scale, having risen five points in May, it is probably too early for retailers to expect a sudden surge in spending.

Overall consumer confidence is still three points behind where it was this month last year, when the country was left in limbo over the general election outcome, and only one metric shows an improvement from 12 months ago.

Unsurprisingly given the return to GDP growth over the last quarter, people’s confidence in the general economic situation over the last 12 months has improved by 13 points since April but by just one point since last year and is still -44.

Moon continued: “But before the businesses celebrate, it should be pointed out that this is just one month’s figure and it is far too early to know whether this could be the start of an upward trend.

“We are improving from a rock bottom position and consumer confidence is still deeply in the negative.

“So, whether the current spring in consumers’ step is due to the feel-good factor of the royal wedding and a double-whammy of sunny bank holidays, or to the recent let-up in negative reporting about the state of the economy, we are not out of the woods.”

Published on Friday 27 May by Editorial Assistant

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