UK consumer confidence stalls in March but attitudes towards personal finance on the up

Consumer confidence stalls in March

Consumer confidence stalls in March

UK consumer confidence stalled in March, but people’s attitudes towards their own personal finances improved.

GfK’s consumer confidence report remained at -21 points in March, the exact same reading as February and down from -19 points from January. 

January’s reading was the highest in over two years as Brits became more hopeful about falling inflation, but it has now slipped back again.

Its major purchase index – which takes the temperature on Brits likeliness to make a big splurge– also fell two points.

However, the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months is up two points.

Joe Staton, client strategy director GfK, said: “The improved personal finance measure is encouraging because it’s the first positive and the highest score since December 2021.”

“This is welcome news given the challenges faced by Britons of fiscal drag, higher costs for fuel, rising council taxes and utilities eroding any increases in wages or other income.”

He added: “But is there a note of worry this month? Look back to last year and it’s clear the improvements in consumer confidence seen most months since January 2023 have vanished.”

“Are we temporarily on pause, or are consumers about to press ‘reverse’? In the run-up to the next UK General Election, these are important questions for the future health of the economy.”

There are hopes that barriers which prohibit customers losing their purse strings such as high energy bills and inflation will improve this year.

The UK narrowly crawled out of a recession in January, with the economy growing by 0.2 per cent.

Inflation has also dropped to its lowest level in nearly two and a half years, news which has been welcomed by consumers under the cosh.

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