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Industry News

Published on October 31st, 2019 | by The GC Team

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Consumer confidence bruised by ‘should we stay or should we go’ wrangle

Lingering uncertainty over the drawn-out process of Brexit brought more pressure to bear on retailers in October, as consumer confidence, just like the UK’s prospects for leaving the EU on Hallowe’en, slipped away.

GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index declined two points to –14, with all five measures used to determine the score decreasing.

With public sentiment on the General Economic Situation over the last 12 months at -33 and for the 12 months ahead at -37, it’s clear that the constant manoeuvring by those in the House of Commons has deeply unsettled both businesses and consumers.   

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, said: “People can only feel confident if they believe the external environment is stable, yet consumers are witnessing too many Brexit shifts and surprises, too many Brexit timelines and counter-proposals to justify any longer-term confidence.”

How consumers view their personal finances also suffered, with Staton firmly placing the blame on “the ongoing machinations in Westminster” for a fall of 3 points in this measure during October.

“This deterioration in sentiment regarding our personal financial affairs is worrying as strong consumer spending has been the main driver of economic growth since the Referendum in 2016 against a backdrop of low inflation, low interest rates, low wage growth and high employment.

“Nobody wants to see consumer spending reduce and let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But Brexit’s continuing uncertainty and the spectre of a general election is not helpful.”

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