Consumer confidence sees a slight Christmas bounce

Christien PhebyContent Manager
December 20, 2021, 12:30 PM GMT+0
  • Consumer confidence rises to 110.5 following three months of decline (+1.3)  

  • Confidence in household finances falls to 83.2 for the past 30 days (-1.4), the lowest since 2013 – but optimism increases for the year ahead (+3.4, rising to 84.6) 

  • Outlook for business activity rises to 127.1 (+3.2)  

  • Perceptions of job security now at record levels 

The UK economy received an early Christmas present as consumer confidence ended a three-month streak of falling scores in November, according to new analysis from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).  

The Index rose by 1.3 points to 110.5 – equalling scores from September this year. The increase can be attributed to increasing optimism about business activity, job security and household finances over the next 12 months. That said, when restricted to those surveyed between November 26 – 30, scores fell to 108.0: a possibly early indication of the impact that the Omicron variant may have on consumer confidence.  

YouGov collects consumer confidence data every day, conducting over 6,000 interviews a month. Respondents answer questions about household finances, property prices, job security and business activity, both over the past 30 days and looking ahead to the next 12 months. 

Outlook on household finances saw a jump of 3.4 points – the largest increase since January 2021 – taking scores to 84.6. However, for the third month in a row, Britons reported a decrease in confidence in their household financial situation: scores fell to 83.2, a decline of 1.4 on the previous month and the lowest overall score since April 2013. For both metrics, consumers are firmly negative.   

On a more optimistic note, perceptions of business activity (how busy workers say their workplace was in the past month, or how busy they expect it to be in the next 12 months) are on the upswing. For the next 12 months, scores jumped by 3.2 points to 127.1, while perceptions of business activity over the past 30 days saw a slight improvement of 0.7, rising to 115.0.  

With workers expecting more activity, it is perhaps appropriate that the job security index also saw a bump. Outlook increased by 1.1, rising to 119.4 – the highest score on record – while perceptions of job security over the 30-day period prior to being surveyed increased by 2.6 to 96.1: still negative, but the third consecutive month of improvements. Given trepidation in some quarters about the end of furlough, it may be a more encouraging sign than people expected.  

Finally, the house value index remained relatively static: homeowners are a little more likely to think their properties can command a higher asking price compared to the month before – with scores inching up by 0.4 to 126.2. When it comes to outlook for the next year, two months of falling scores were arrested: with the index seeing a 0.2 increase to 132.7.