UK Consumer Confidence Falls Further Despite Easing Coronavirus Lockdown
Consumer confidence in the U.K. fell to its lowest level in more than a decade at the end of May, even as the country’s coronavirus lockdown began to ease, data from GfK showed Friday.
The GfK consumer confidence barometer stood at minus 36 at the end of May, a decrease of two points compared with a reading from two weeks earlier. The indicator fell to its lowest level since January 2009.
Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected confidence to improve to minus 30.
“Against a backdrop of falling house prices, soaring jobless claims, and with no sign of a rapid V-shaped bounce-back on the cards, consumers remain pessimistic about the state of their finances and the wider economic picture for the year to come,” Joe Staton, GfK’s client strategy director, said.
Among the five subindexes that form the barometer, four of them decreased and one increased, data by the research institute showed.
Britons’ assessment of their personal financial situation and general economic situation over the last year deteriorated substantially. The subindexes gauging consumers’ outlook regarding their finances and the general economic situation over the coming year also fell, but at a slower pace.
“The only bright spark in the numbers is for the major-purchase index with a six-point fillip, pointing to latent demand among shoppers across the U.K. despite most outlets remaining shuttered,” Mr. Staton said.
The survey was carried out by 2,000 individuals between May 20 and 26, as the government continued to ease the country out of a lockdown that was put in place to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“It will be interesting to see just how the consumer appetite for spending returns in a world of socially distanced shopping and the seismic shift to online retailing–alongside worries of a fresh spike in Covid-19 cases as relaxations increase,” Mr. Staton said.
GfK’s barometer is usually published monthly, but, since March, the report is released at fortnightly intervals to evaluate the impact of the U.K.’s coronavirus lockdown on consumer confidence. The next release is expected on June 19.
Source: Dow Jones