The new year has brought more positive sentiment for consumers in the U.K., according to a recent survey conducted by research group GfK. The Consumer Confidence Barometer has increased by three points to reach its highest level in two years, at minus 19. This result has surpassed economists’ expectations of a reading at minus 20, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
All aspects of the barometer have shown improvement, including consumers’ outlook on the overall economic situation and their confidence in making significant purchases. Notably, respondents’ feelings about their personal financial situation for the next twelve months have shifted into positive territory for the first time in two years.
GfK’s client strategy director, Joe Staton, emphasizes that this change is a crucial indicator of how households perceive their income and expenditure. Despite ongoing concerns about the cost of living across the country, consumers seem to be buoyed by positive news regarding falling inflation. Staton expresses curiosity about whether this optimism will persist in the future.
While there was a slight increase in consumer prices in December, economists anticipate a resumption of falling inflation rates in the coming months. A rise in household spending would be a much-needed boost for the U.K. economy, especially as retail sales remained weak throughout late 2023, including the crucial December period. Economists predict a challenging start to 2024 for the broader economy.