Consumer confidence hits new low

Consumer confidence has fallen to new record lows, according to the latest survey from Nielsen and the BRC.
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Eighty four per cent of people in Great Britain now believe the country is in recession, up from 65 per cent in May. 18 per cent think the country will be out of recession within a year.

The bi-annual survey, published today, asks consumers about job prospects, personal finances, spending intentions and major concerns.

The consumer confidence index for Great Britain has fallen from 79 points in May to 74 in the latest findings. This time last year, the index stood at 94 and peaked at 101 in spring 2006.

Sixty per cent think their own personal finances are ‘not so good’ or ‘bad’, 69 per cent of people said that now was ‘not a good time’ or a ‘bad time’ to buy the things they want or need and 70 per cent said they thought their job prospects were ‘not so good’ or ‘bad’.

This latest dip in confidence is driven by an increase in the number of people becoming concerned about job prospects. In May, 14 per cent of respondents thought job prospects were ‘bad’ but in the latest poll almost a quarter of respondents said job prospects will be ‘bad’ in the coming 12 months.

When asked about their major concerns, 39 per cent of Britons said their biggest or second biggest concern was increasing utility bills. All of the top ranking concerns were in relation to the increasing cost of living, debt and the wider economy.

Justin Sargent, managing director of Nielsen said:

“This survey reflects the pressures that shoppers have been feeling personally on a daily basis and highlights just how widespread concern is over the burden of increased bills and prices. Add to that worries over debt and jobs and we see consumer confidence, unsurprisingly, hit new lows. With inflation and interest rates falling Nielsen expects consumers to regain some confidence, though caution will remain.”

Stephen Robertson, British Retail Consortium’s director general said:

“With only one in five people believing recession will be over this time next year, it’s certainly going to be a tough Christmas and New Year. But there are reasons for optimism.

"The Bank of England’s shock rate cut should get the economy’s heart beating again. Some key costs are falling, bringing shop prices down, and retailers are fighting back with promotions and price cuts. This can be good time to be a customer.”

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