Consumer confidence weakens amid coronavirus fears

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// Consumer confidence fell by two points to -9 in March
// However, research took place in first 2 weeks of March, before government guidance to stay home
// Lockdown expected to further deteriorate confidence as the coronavirus crisis bites

Consumer confidence fell by two points in March after three consecutive months of positive figures, and with lockdown now in full swing it’s expected to get worse.

According to the latest data from GfK, UK consumer confidence fell to -9 last month, compared to -7 in February.

March’s figure is still better than the score of -13 recorded in March last year, which was just ahead of the first expected Brexit date.

However, GfK highlighted that its data was based on analysis that took place in the first two weeks of March – when the coronavirus was headline news but not impacting day-to-day lives of people across all UK nations to the degree we see today.


The government’s official stay at home guidance kicked in the week beginning March 15, and the nationwide lockdown was came into effect on March 24.

As a result, GfK warned that consumer confidence can expect further deterioration as the coronavirus crisis begins to bite.

“While we have a long way to drop before we match the devastating numbers seen in July 2008, when the overall index score crashed to -39 points, we are likely to suffer further deterioration now that we are in lockdown in Britain,” GfK client strategy director Joe Staton said.

Consumer confidence weakens amid coronavirus fears

With the overall index broken down into categories, the consumer sentiment around personal finances during the past 12 months rose three points from -1 to 2 – although this was above the 0 reading a year ago.

Meanwhile, predictions for the next 12 months decreased from 6 to 3 but this was up from 2 a year ago, again due to Brexit worries.

Confidence surrounding the UK’s general economic position for the past 12 months remained flat at -23 compared to February, but representing a 10-point increase year-on-year.

For the coming 12 months, expectations for the economic situation fell by six points to -27 – but this is improvement of nine points compared to March last year.

However, the major purchase index dropped by eight points month-on-month to -2, and in the same period the savings index fell 10 points from 20 to 10.

Consumer confidence weakens amid coronavirus fears

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