UK consumer confidence jumps ahead of Black Friday and Christmas

·2-min read
UK consumer confidence jumps ahead of Black Friday and Christmas
Rising consumer confidence will be a relief for retailers as they head into the all-important Christmas season. Photo: PA

UK consumer confidence jumped in November, in the run-up to Black Friday and Christmas, according to the latest data from the UK consumer confidence index, which tracks how people feel about their personal finances and wider economic prospects.

The consumer confidence index, compiled by research company GfK, rose by three points to minus 14 in November after experiencing a three-month slump.

The survey’s major purchase index — an indicator of confidence in buying more expensive items — also jumped by seven points, showing that Brits were also more willing to purchase expensive items, even though household incomes are being squeezed by rising prices.

The news will be a relief for retailers as they head into the all-important Christmas season. Retail sales rose in October after five months of no growth, driven in part by Brits flocking to department stores and toy shops ahead of the festive season, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics.

Read more: Early Christmas shopping sends UK retail sales soaring

Retail sales volumes rose by 0.8%, with volumes 5.8% higher than their pre-pandemic levels.

The increase in consumer confidence was stronger than expected and comes amid the highest inflation seen in a decade and deepening concern over rising interest rates.

It is also much higher than the consumer confidence score of minus 33 seen at the same time last year when the UK was facing a second lockdown.

Consumers’ view of the general economic situation over the past year rose by six points and confidence looking forward to the 12 months ahead also ticked up by three points.

However confidence in personal finances fell two points to minus seven in November.

"This weakness is important as it reflects day-to-day plans to save or spend and is a strong driver of overall UK economic growth," said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK.

Read more: Ebay's top predictions for Black Friday 2021

"Headline consumer sentiment has ticked upwards this month despite decade-high inflation, fears of higher prices and worries over rising interest rates, and as the deepening cost-of-living squeeze leaves UK household finances worse off this winter.

“However, one highlight for both physical and virtual retail is the seven-point jump in major purchase intentions in the run-up to Black Friday and Christmas. Is this a sign that shoppers are ready to bounce back, after last year’s cancelled family gatherings, with a Christmas splurge in coming weeks? That’s how it looks — but consumers also know that when the festivities are over it’s going to be a tough year in 2022.”

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