The UK has overtaken Germany for the first time in over 5 years, now the second most confident nation in Europe behind Denmark
According to the latest figures from Nielsen, UK positivity about job prospects and personal finances are both at their highest levels since before the 2008 financial crisis. In fact, consumer confidence in the UK rose for the sixth successive quarter to surpass the global average for the first time in more than nine years.
The UK Consumer Confidence Index centres around a score of 100, if it is below 100 it indicates degrees of pessimism, whereas above 100 indicated levels of optimism. It measures attitudes each quarter on topics including job prospects and personal finances among 30,000 internet consumers in 60 countries. In Q1 2015, it rose from 97 to 99 in Q2 2015, whilst the global level dropped from 97 to 96. The last time the UK index was higher than the global average was in Q1 2006 (101 vs. 96), when Tony Blair was in his third term as PM and the official interest rate was 4.5%.
Greece had the largest quarterly decrease in confidence among the 60 countries – down 12 index points to 53.
Other highlights from the study show the number of Britons feeling positive about their job prospects increased for the ninth consecutive quarter to 49% in Q2 2015 – the highest level for nearly eight years.
UK consumers are also feeling more positive about their personal finances, as the number increased for the second consecutive quarter to 53% – the highest level for nearly eight years (Q3 2007, 54%)
The number of Brits who feel that now is a good time to make purchases dropped 1 point to 44% – but still the second highest level since the question first appeared in the survey, nearly nine years ago (Q3, 2006) and the number Who say they’ve changed spending habits to save money stayed at 56% – the joint-second lowest point on record (behind Q4, 2014 – 54%)
Nielsen UK & Ireland managing director Steve Smith explains the factors contributing to a more positive outlook: “Consumers in the UK are feeling ever more confident. Wage inflation is starting to outstrip price inflation for the first time in years, while mortgage rates are at historically low levels and unemployment has generally been falling.
This positivity is reflected in the cornerstone of household budgets: grocery spending. The number of UK consumers switching to cheaper grocery brands in order to save money is at its lowest level (30%) since late 2009. This is an encouraging sign for retailers that consumer purse-strings may be starting to loosen.