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March consumer confidence decline a prologue to “deterioration”



GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased by two points to –9 in March. One measure increased, three measures decreased (including The Major Purchase Index, which fell eight points to -2, down three points YoY), and one measure remained the same.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, says: “Against the threat of a dramatic slowdown in the UK economy due to the spread of Covid-19, the Consumer Confidence Barometer has weakened by two points this month.

“Importantly, this research was carried out during the first two weeks of March, when the coronavirus was headline news but not impacting day-to-day lives of people across all UK nations to the degree we see today. After a run of increasingly positive numbers since last December, we’re now seeing very clear disruption. There’s a six-point drop in perceptions of the economy in the coming year, although the view on the next 12 months for personal finances has recorded a softer decrease of three points.

“The steep eight-point fall in the Major Purchase Index is worrying news for retailers across the land. While we have a long way to drop before we match the devastating numbers seen in July 2008 when the Overall Index Score crashed to -39 points, lockdown Britain can only expect further deterioration.”



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