Nosedive in UK consumer confidence will be unwelcome news for retailers

The UK future sentiment index plummeted in April to the lowest level seen since tracking began in April 2012, pulled down by pessimistic feeling around the future of the UK economy and bringing bad news for retailers that will be hoping for a post-lockdown pickup in spend, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Sofie Willmott, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “When asked how they expect the UK economy to change over the six months, 78.5% of consumers said they expected it to get worse indicating that the nation’s worries have not been eased despite measures announced by the UK government to support jobs and businesses.”

Consumer sentiment chart


Note: GlobalData’s Future Sentiment Index is calculated based on a monthly survey of 2,000 nationally representative UK consumers. The index is calculated by averaging out the three main measures of confidence, namely economic outlook, personal finances, and future retail spending prospects.

Additionally, UK consumers also lack confidence about their personal finances over the six months with 45.5% expecting their finances to get worse, likely to be linked to many workers being on furlough leave and fears around unemployment levels rising.

Willmott continues: “Low levels of consumer confidence do not bode well for retailers – 60.7% of UK consumers expect to spend less on retail over the next six months as they seek to protect their finances and prioritise essentials. Grocery spend will be safeguarded along with essential health and beauty items but non-essential sectors such as clothing & footwear will be hard hit by consumers deprioritising these items, even after lockdown restrictions are lifted.”

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