Consumer confidence has plummeted seven points to -29 in December, according to figures released today by GfK.
The latest figures from the GfK Consumer Confidence Index show that consumer confidence has dropped back to just one point higher than October’s score, standing at -29.
This follows optimism in November when consumer confidence rocketed eight points to -22, the highest reading in 18 months.
However, last month’s surge was to be short-lived, as December’s figures reveal that consumer confidence remains fragile.
Commenting on the results, Nick Moon, GfK’s Managing Director of Social Research, said: “While such a dramatic drop in consumer confidence over the last month might seem like very bad news, it must be seen in the context of a massive eight point rise in November – the seventh highest increase since the Index began in 1974.
“On its own, this increase suggested a real turning point in consumer confidence as we looked ahead to 2013.
“But just as with significant improvements like this in the past – in May 2011 for example – the surge disappeared as fast as it arrived.”
In July, Asda’s Mumdex report found that half of mothers were concerned about covering the cost of Christmas, with 45 per cent planning to reduce spend, and the November report revealed that mums’ confidence had dropped by 10 per cent over the course of the year.
Two thirds of mums expect Britain’s economic situation to worsen in 2013, according to the latest Mumdex report.
Wednesday’s CBI Distributive Trades Survey, which showed a sluggish start to Christmas spending, suggested that shoppers are leaving their Christmas shopping later in the hope of snapping up last-minute bargains.
In a statement responding to the figures, an economist from Capital Economics, Martin Beck, commented: “December’s sharp drop in consumer confidence suggested that November’s unexpectedly big rise was yet another false dawn.”
Predicting a “subdued Christmas” for retailers, he added: “With confidence so fragile despite the proximity of Christmas, we doubt that the festive season will act as a launch pad for a sustained recovery on the high street.”