Mirroring the sentiments of consumers in many other countries, the British are feeling increasingly positive about their job prospects and personal finances but remain cautious when it comes to spending their spare pounds and pence, according to a the latest edition of the Nielsen British Retail Consortium Consumer Confidence Survey. Overall confidence rose two points in December from October.
Five percent of survey respondents felt that their job prospects over the next twelve months as would be “excellent” with the same number saying the same about the state of their personal finances. That said, half of those surveyed believed that Britain will still be in recession by the end of 2010 and 70 percent said that they are adjusting their spending to save money.
Personal debt is the single biggest concern amongst Britons, with 14 percent identifying that issue, with another 12 percent identifying increasing utility bills and the overall state of the economy. More than two-thirds of those surveyed said that they would put spare cash into improving finances by increasing savings (40%) or paying off debt (29%). Among the areas facing spending cutbacks: home improvement, new clothing, new technology and out of home entertainment.
“We are in the foothills of what will be a slow climb out of recession. While people are feeling ever so slightly better about job prospects and finances, an air of caution prevails. The number of people saying they are saving is at the highest the consumer confidence survey has ever recorded, and people remain very concerned about the amount of debt they are shouldering,” said Justin Sargent, Managing Director, Nielsen Consumer UK.
“We’re heading in the right direction. It’s encouraging to see consumer confidence improve steadily since the survey’s low last April. But we’ve still got a long way to go before confidence levels hit their pre-recession highs,” said Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium.