There was an unexpected rise in UK consumer confidence in November. GfK NOP announced an 18 month high as British consumers became more upbeat about their finances and the overall economic outlook.
Economists had seen the index flat, according to an average of 23 estimates in a Bloomberg poll, but overall index score rose by eight points to minus 22 this month. This was its best reading since May 2011, the market research and consumer insight agency said.
The surge in consumer confidence is at odds with the more pessimistic economic forecast made by Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King earlier in November. The country pulled out of recession in the third quarter of 2012 but the Bank of England warned the economy may dip again as one-off factors create a “zig zag” effect on GDP.
GfK said consumers’ expectations for both their personal financial situation and the general economic situation improved in November.
“The improvement is especially dramatic following such a stagnant summer,” commented Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK. This unexpected spike is a good news, especially for retailers, as people are more optimistic about economic performance in the next 12 months. The direction things take in 2013 will show whether this is a short-term jump or the start of a long-term improvement in consumers’ spending habits, Moon added.
GfK polled 2,001 people between 2 November and 11 November. The measure of consumers’ outlook for the economy over the next 12 months advanced 14 points to minus 15, while their outlook for their personal financial situation increased six points to minus 7. Sentiment on the climate for making major purchases rose 7 points to minus 26.