Consumer confidence falls to 18-month low
28 January 2019
- UK consumer confidence falls for a second consecutive quarter from -7% in Q3,
to-9% in Q4 2018: the lowest level in 18 months;
- YoY confidence in levels of disposable income and job security down by four percentage points;
- Spending on essentials and discretionary items increase but growth more muted than expected considering the lead up to Christmas;
- The Deloitte Consumer Tracker measures UK consumer confidence on a quarterly basis.
UK consumer confidence dropped to an 18-month low in the last quarter of 2018, falling to -9% from -7% the previous quarter, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker.
The analysis, based on the responses of over 3,000 UK consumers between 4 and 7 January 2019 found that, despite a period of falling inflation, a rise in real wages and unemployment at historic lows, this was not enough to offset consumer uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Confidence was down, year-on-year, across five of the six measures used to calculate the Deloitte confidence index. The fall in confidence was most pronounced in sentiment around levels of disposable income and job security (-4 percentage points, equally).
Christmas spending slows
The Deloitte Consumer Tracker also revealed an increase in net spending on both essentials and discretionary categories, increasing by three and four percentage points respectively, compared with the previous quarter.
Ben Perkins, head of consumer research, commented: “Although quarterly spending for essentials and discretionary items increased, the fall in overall confidence resulted in more muted spending growth than expected during the ‘golden’ quarter in the
“Based on the Tracker’s findings this quarter, it seems that consumers are anticipating bad times ahead, despite the backdrop of positive macro-economic data. Notably, spending fell across certain essential categories, such as housing or transport, and on big-ticket items such as electrical goods and furniture.
“Consumers have entered 2019 in a cautious mood. As a result, we expect spending to continue to slow, especially in the big-ticket discretionary categories.”
Note to editors
About the research
The Deloitte Consumer Tracker is based on a consumer survey carried out by independent market research agency, YouGov, on Deloitte’s behalf. This survey was conducted online with a nationally representative sample of over 3,000 UK adults aged 18+ between 4 and 7 January 2019. Overall consumer confidence is calculated as an aggregate of six individual measures: job security, job opportunities, disposable income, level of debt, children’s education and welfare, and general health and wellbeing.
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