The latest Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index shows a big
drop in confidence in March. Its headline index fell 8 points to 75 mainly
reflecting weaker job sentiment. In the GfK March Consumer Confidence Barometer
confidence also fell, down 1 point to 15.
Both the Nationwide Present Situations sub-index (down 3
points to 24) and Expected Situations sub-index (down 12 points to 109) fell
in the month, with the employment component of each driving the index down.
As in the GfK March CCB, fewer people feel there will be
more jobs available in the coming months the net balance of people expecting
not many/few jobs to be available fell 9 points from 12 to 21%. In the
current measure of job availability, the net balance of people believing there
are many/some jobs available is 43%, down from 31% in February and only a
little higher than a year ago, when the economy was in the depth of the
Optimism about the economic outlook has fallen back this
month but still is at historically high levels despite the post-election need
for tax rises and spending cuts.
The Nationwide Spending sub-index is unchanged on the month
at 102 well above its long-term average although the 3-month moving average
of both underlying spending indices is lower. With the removal of some of the
stimulus measures for car and house purchase and the increase in VAT, the index
for making major big-ticket purchases has weakened in the quarter. A similar decline
is found in the index for major household good purchases, and is also reflected
in a weakening GfK spending climate measure on household goods.
In the recently published JGFR Financial Activity
Bulletin, borrowing intentions are very weak especially for house and car
purchase - reflecting consumers preference for saving and debt repayment as
well as the availability of credit. The outlook for retailers and estate agents
continues to be challenging.
John Gilbert, Chief Executive JGFR comments:
With the election campaign now well under way the main
impact on consumers may well be to increase uncertainty rather than optimism as
the prospect of a hung Parliament grows with no party able to establish a clear
message capturing the consumer mood
To help understand the consumer mood in
more detail JGFR produces the following:
UK Consumer Confidence Monitor monthly
UK High Earners Confidence Monitor
UK Regional Monitor quarterly
UK Financial Activity Bulletin quarterly
UK High Earners Financial Activity
We also produce a regular Financial
Wellbeing Index, Optimism Index and Misery Index. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0208
944 7510 to discuss your consumer intelligence needs. We can also undertake
bespoke research assignments.