Consumer confidence drops slightly but remains “resilient”


Consumer confidence slipped by 0.3 points in March against a backdrop of increasing inflation and the confirmation date of Article 50 being triggered for Brexit.

The latest data from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) shows that UK consumer confidence fell only slightly in March, dropping from 109.6 points down to 109.3 points.

YouGov and Cebr said that while any score over 100 shows more consumers are confident than unconfident, the index remains below the level it was at before the Brexit referendum took place last June.

In the nine months up to and including June 2016, the average consumer confidence score was 113.3.

For YouGov/Cebr‘s consumer confidence barometers, 6000 respondents were asked about household finances, property prices, job security and business activity for the past 30 days and for the next 12 months.

It found that of the eight measures have improved in March while four declined.

The most notable fall came in job security over the next 12 months, which has slipped to its lowest level since September.

Meanwhile, house values over past 30 days hit their highest mark since June.

Finally, both the forward and backward-looking household finance measures only moved marginally in March.

READ MORE: Consumer confidence explained

“This month‘s consumer confidence data is a real mixed bag, probably reflecting the slightly jumbled economic conditions we are currently seeing,” Cebr director Scott Corfe said.

“On one hand home owners are optimistic about the property market, but on the other employees are becoming more nervous about their levels of job security over the coming year – probably reflecting uncertainty over the economy.

“For many consumers, the positives and negatives are currently balancing each other out, but this could change.

“Should inflation continue to rise, household finances – steady at the moment – could start to weaken in the months ahead.”

READ MORE: Consumer confidence dips as mounting economic pressures begin to bite

YouGov head Stephen Harmston said it was “remarkable how resilient the numbers” were in the latest consumer confidence barometer.

“However, we are beginning to see some negativity coming into view, most notably when it comes to job security.

“With inflation creeping up, household finances will come under greater pressure over the coming months.

“Despite the figures holding up, it is undeniable that across the board things have not regained the ground lost in the immediate aftermath of the decision to leave the EU.”

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