Consumers eager to spend, confidence highest since late 2019, reports say
Two pieces of good news for Monday. Consumers are now the most eager they’ve been to spend in 13 years, and consumer confidence is at its strongest since the end of 2019. That’s according to a consumer confidence poll by PwC, and Deloitte’s latest survey.
Admittedly, that goes against some other surveys showing confidence is stalling, but it’s still encouraging as retailers prepare for the start of a low-key ‘Freedom Day’. PwC said its Consumer Sentiment Index was showing its best reading since it was launched in 2008.
Confidence has improved across all age groups and all regions of the UK, “thanks to high levels of vaccination and the lack of opportunity to spend during lockdown, which has left many households with high levels of savings”.
What’s more, when asked about disposable income, more households than ever said they expected to be better off in the next 12 months.
The survey of 2,000 adults was conducted from 18-20 June, albeit before cases of Covid began to escalate and confusion over the latest rules blurred. That could be why confidence is showing as higher than some other surveys.
But while confidence had increased since the last poll in March, people now expect “getting back to normal” to take longer.
Plans to spend heavily on hospitality and leisure have eased since March, with the focus switching to products and services for the home. One in four households also said they expected to spend more this Christmas.
Lisa Hooker, head of consumer markets at PwC, said: “It’s fantastic to see consumer sentiment remain buoyant as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and all lockdown restrictions are lifted”.
Meanwhile, the latest quarterly consumer tracker by Deloitte showed consumer confidence returned to pre-pandemic levels. Its consumer tracker improved to a reading of -9% in the three-month period to the end of June, its highest reading since the final quarter of 2019.
Deloitte’s analysis is based on responses from more than 3,000 UK consumers between 18-21 June.
The latest figures highlight recovering confidence amid optimism that spending will rebound after restrictions are eased further on Monday.
For consumers, confidence in job security has risen by four percentage points compared to the previous quarter, the report said.
Debapratim De, senior economist at Deloitte, said: “The furlough scheme has been very effective in cushioning the economic blow to many individuals from the pandemic.
“With an overwhelming majority of respondents reporting increased savings, the stage is set for a consumer-driven rebound in activity.
“We expect the six months between April and September to deliver greater growth than seen over the four years before the pandemic”.
The report also highlighted a broad increase in leisure spending during the period, as pubs and restaurants were able to welcome customers inside again.
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