UK Consumer Confidence Logs Biggest Fall On Record: GfK

UK consumer sentiment registered its biggest fall since records began in January 1974 as measures taken to curb the spread of coronavirus weighed on households’ economic expectations and purchase decision, survey data from the market research group GfK showed Monday.

The consumer confidence index fell to -34 from -9 seen in its regular survey for March, GfK said.

The market research group released an interim COVID-19 flash report using data gathered between March 16 and 27. The confidence index fell sharply by 25 points between the first two and last two weeks of March.

“Our COVID-19 ‘flash report’ shows a dramatic result with consumer confidence falling off the cliff in the last two weeks of March,” Joe Staton, GfK’s Client Strategy Director, said. “The last time we saw such a decline was during the 2008 economic downturn.”

The indicator for past personal financial situation declined by 6 points to -4 and that for future personal financial situation plunged 20 points to -17 at the end of March.

The indices for past and future general economic situation declined 17 points and 29 points respectively, in March

The major purchase index decreased sharply by 50 points to -52, the survey showed.

Despite record grocery sales, and recent peaks for purchases of freezers, TVs and home office equipment as people prepared for a long period in the home, the purchase index declined 50 points – a stark picture for some parts of the retail industry in the short to medium term, said Staton.

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