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UK consumer confidence at highest level since 2006

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Market research firm Nielsen is behind the data that tracked four successive quarterly rises in UK consumer confidence levels, leading the country to become the fastest-growing market worldwide.

A score of over 100 represents optimism and below 100 indicates pessimism, with the index calculated from Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, which measures topics each quarter among 30,000 internet consumers in 60 countries.

The UK Consumer Confidence Index hit 94 at the end of 2014, which is up ten points year-on-year, while confidence rose by just two points globally to 96 over the same period and by three points to 76 in Europe.

Interestingly, the UK was just one of 11 countries generating double-digit confidence growth through last year to rank as the 21st most confident country, up from 30th in 2013.

Between Q4 2013 and Q4 2014, the number of Brits that felt positive about job prospects rose from 32 per cent to 40 per cent, and the number feeling now is a good time to spend money rose seven per cent to 42 per cent.

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Mike Watkins, UK head of retailer and business insights, Nielsen, said: “Although consumer confidence is back to pre-2008 financial crisis levels, with economic indicators improving and people feeling more confident about job prospects, the British shopper is still reluctant or unable to spend.

“Most households continue to change their spending to save on household expenses. A quarter of shoppers also claim not to have any spare cash, a constant percentage since the end of the recession. Among those who do have spare cash, almost half would put it into savings, whilst nearly a third will pay off debts.

“However, the most significant change to spending intentions was the increase in households who still intend to switch to cheaper grocery brands even when economic conditions improve – from 37 per cent to 45 per cent. With the discounters now having a ten per cent share of grocery sales and supermarkets lowering prices, it looks like shoppers will habitually continue to spend less on groceries, even when their personal finances improve.”

Image via Shutterstock.

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