Press Room

UK consumer confidence hits highest level for seven years

Positivity about job prospects also at seven year high
Proportion of consumers willing to spend money at highest level for eight years
Proportion of consumers who believe UK is in a recession at lowest point on record

London – 31 October 2014 – Consumer confidence in the UK jumped three points for the third successive quarter to hit its highest level for seven years – according to the latest figures from Nielsen.

The UK Consumer Confidence Index hit 93 in Q3 2014; the last time it was higher was in Q3 2007 (94), when Gordon Brown had just become PM and MySpace was more popular than Facebook. A score above 100 indicates degrees of optimism – below 100, degrees of pessimism.

The score is derived from Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. Established in 2005, it measures attitudes on topics including job prospects and personal finances each quarter among 30,000 internet consumers in 60 countries.

The number of Britons:

  • Feeling positive about their job prospects increased for the sixth consecutive quarter to 41% in Q3 2014 – the highest level for seven years (Q3 2007, 50%)
  • Believing the UK is in a recession dropped 4 points from the previous quarter to 56% – the lowest level since the question first appeared in the survey (Q1, 2008)
  • Feeling that now is a good time to make purchases rose 2 points to 42% – the highest level for eight years (Q3 2006, 44%)
  • Who say they’ve changed spending habits to save money stayed at 58% – still the lowest level since the question first appeared in the survey (Q1, 2009)
  • Feeling positive about their personal finances stayed at 47% – still the highest level for seven years (Q3 2007, 54%)

E.g. in Q3 2011, 69% of UK consumers online changed spending habits to save money

“Confidence is moving in the right direction, but the fact remains, as a whole, Britons are still pessimistic about what’s ahead,” says Nielsen UK managing director Steve Smith. “Those positive about jobs and finances are in the minority, while cost-saving tactics are still being practised by the majority of households. For instance, 60% of shoppers are buying cheaper grocery brands to save money – the highest figure for two years – and savings remain the number one destination for consumers’ spare cash.

“This cautious mind-set is contributing to weak retail sales growth, so any UK recovery will remain fragile until more shoppers get a tangible sense that their living standards have improved.”

The global Consumer Confidence Index stands at 98, Europe at 78. India has the highest index (126) among the 60 countries measured, Italy the lowest (47). UK confidence levels (93) are the closest they’ve been to Europe’s biggest economy, Germany (97), for over four years (Q2 2010, 78 vs 81).

To show historical trends for the UK and all 60 countries, broken down by metrics such as financial concerns and job prospects, visit the interactive Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted 13 August – 5 September, 2014, and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users, is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behaviour of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60-percent Internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA, and Diemen, the Netherlands.