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MNI INTERVIEW: Confused UK Consumer Seeks Christmas Cheer-GFK

(MNI) London

UK consumer confidence bounced back in November, recovering losses seen the previous month, but the volatility in recent readings suggests a country unsure of its economic outlook the head of a leading survey said Thursday.

"Recent ups and downs in confidence underline the confusion consumers have at the moment, unable to gauge from one month to the next just what the outlook is," Gfk's Client Strategy Director Joe Staton told MNI in an interview.

"Encouraging news about falling inflation and wage growth is offset by high personal taxation and still costly fuel and energy bills," Staton said, though he noted that news of a sharp decline in headline inflation to 4.6% came after the survey closed.


Improvements were seen across all five of Gfk’s sentiment indices in November, with the overall index score increasing six points to -24. Confidence in personal finances over the next 12 months gained five points to -3, or 26 points higher than this time last year, with Staton noting that his favoured measure indicated that consumers were "thinking about their future with increased confidence and willingness to look beyond the short-term".

It's unusual to see a sharp uptick in confidence in November, Staton noted, despite the often-upbeat pre-Christmas mood. However, this month’s reading suggests retailers could be in for a surprise boost on the high street over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekends.

"Despite the still acute cost-of-living pressures, it seems many would still like to loosen their purse strings just a little so they can enjoy that feel-good factor we all associate with the holidays," he said.

MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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