The latest figures from the GfK/NOP consumer confidence index show that confidence has improved slightly.
A series of poor economic indicators has seen consumer sentiment remain negative, although the overall index score increased to -30 in September from -31 in August. The September score is still ten points lower than this time last year. A rise in the major purchases measure would seem to suggest that retailers are in for a better time.
The score for own personal financial situation over the next 12 months rose from -11 to -10, while people are seemingly slightly more optimistic about the general economic situation than in August 2011.
Economic growth is stalled
Nick Moon, managing director of GfK NOP Social Research, said of the results: ‘The index’s one point rise this month is not statistically significant, but it is psychologically important as it halts the decline of recent months. In fact, despite growing fears about the global economy, British consumers are feeling a little more hopeful about the state of the home economy.
‘Their view on the general economic situation over the next 12 months is improving and there has also been a slight increase in consumers feeling that this is a good time for major purchases.
‘With economic growth effectively stalled at the moment retailers would welcome more high street activity, although if consumers are buying German fridges and Japanese cars, this would create quite different problems for the UK economy.’
Don’t get too excited
Paul Davies, financial analyst at Which?, added: ‘On the face of it consumer confidence is on the rise looking at the September results, but August probably represented hitting rock bottom with all the negativity following the city riots.
‘The measure for the general economic situation is still low and confirms that people are still gloomy about the future of the economy. With this in mind they are looking to build up their emergency savings and pay off any debt.’
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