Consumer confidence rising

February 28, 2012, 3:58 PM GMT+0

UK’s consumer confidence continues to rise in Feb - mainly driven by increased business activity

  • The New Year improvement in YouGov’s HEAT Index is sustained as it rises again from 92 to 93
  • This is largely due to increased business activity reported at workplaces and confidence in the future
  • However consumers’ current situations have worsened slightly (both in terms of financial situations and job security)
  • HEAT Index is now 8 points higher than in February 2011

YouGov’s latest findings confirm that the New Year bump in UK consumer confidence continues, albeit at a more modest rate, with February’s HEAT index score rising by one point to 93 (figure 1). January’s index had seen a four point surge to 92 – the highest recorded level since April 2011, and prior to that – mid 2010. February’s numbers confirm that the trend in economic confidence trend is still positive.

This month’s increase in the index can largely be attributed to a rise in business activity in the workplace (from 101 to 105, returning to the level it was in November 2011, before the Eurozone crisis broke - figure 2). This has increased confidence in the future and boosted all the forward looking metrics within the HEAT Inde

Against this, however, UK consumers report that their current financial situation has worsened slightly (from 80 to 79) and their expectations for current job security also dropped from 88 to 85.

Figure 1: UK HEAT Index

Source: YouGov Household Economic Activity Tracker, February 2012

Note: Based on interviews of 6024 UK residents conducted from 1st – 27th February.

Index score is derived from consumer sentiment on 4 metrics (home prices, job security, family financial situation, and business activity) measured retrospectively and prospectively.

Figure 2: Expectations of business activity amongst employees

Source: YouGov Household Economic Activity Tracker, February 2012

Note: Based on interviews of 1207 UK residents conducted from 1st – 27th February. Respondents were asked whether they expect business activity at their place of work 12 months from now to be “Lower”, “Higher” or “Unchanged”.

CEO Stephan Shakespeare has commented with: “Our HEAT index shows that consumer sentiment is improving. They are seeing more business activity at their workplace and they are more confident in the future economic situation. How the tension between less cash in their wallets but more optimism about how the future will pan out will be a crucial factor over the next few months in determining whether consumers return to the shops.”

Waning confidence in the Government

The Government’s handling of the economy remains a moot point for the British public as confidence levels are down, dropping two points from last month to 70 – an indication that the Government has to do more in building UK consumers’ faith up in fiscal policies.

YouGov’s HEAT (Household Economic Activity Tracker) index is a monthly consumer sentiment number based on surveys conducted on a daily basis throughout the month.

See more on YouGov’s Household Economic Activity Tracker

See the original Press Release and full details here

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