Consumer confidence dips in face of market concerns and Brexit uncertainty

February 29, 2016, 5:00 PM GMT+0

  • Consumer confidence decreases to its lowest level since February 2015

  • All four forward-looking measures fall amid global economic concerns and talk of possible EU exit

  • 18% of workers feel their jobs have become less secure in past month compared to 9% that believe they are more secure

In a month dominated by continued uncertainty in the global markets and talk of possible Brexit, UK consumer confidence has decreased slightly in February, new analysis from YouGov and Cebr reveals.

The YouGov/Cebr Consumer Confidence Index stands at 112.7, falling from 113.3 in January. Consumer confidence has been relatively stagnant over the past year, but this is the lowest it has been since February 2015, when it stood at 112.5.

The Consumer Confidence Index is made of eight measures – four that look back over the past 30 days and four that look ahead over the next 12 months. In February, each forward-looking measure has declined as consumers appear pensive about the coming year. Job security over the next year is at its lowest level since January 2015.

YouGov and Cebr found that, looking back over the past 30 days, consumers feel only two areas improved – their household finances and homeowners’ house values. Backward-looking measures for business activity and job security have fallen. The tracking study finds that 18% of workers feel their jobs have become less secure recently compares to 9% that believe they have become more secure.

Stephen Harmston, Head of YouGov Reports: “Since the financial crisis consumers have become pretty well attuned about how changes in the global economy affect their lives. The ongoing uncertainty in the financial markets and all the talk of Britain leaving the EU means UK consumers have entered holding pattern – unsure about how things will play out over the coming year. Of particular concern is job security, which can act as a pit canary for how things are going. If it continues to decline then we could start to see some further downward movement in consumer confidence in the coming months.”

Scott Corfe, Director at the Centre for Economics and Business Research: “Financial markets hate uncertainty and so do consumers. As such it is little surprise that the latest consumer confidence figures show that the public is unsure about how the economy will pan out over the coming year. All the economic news they have heard over the past month is cloaked in indecision – be it the markets worrying about the impact of a global slowdown or politicians arguing about Britain’s place in Europe. Until these things move in a decisive direction, it is likely that consumer confidence will be stuck in neutral.”

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