Consumer confidence jumps in May, but remains ‘negative’

Consumer confidence jumps in May, but remains ‘negative’

Consumer confidence increased at its second fastest rate on record during May as the royal wedding and better news on the economy helped people to feel more upbeat, research has indicated.

The GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index soared by 10 points during the month to stand at minus 21, the second biggest rise in the survey’s 37-year history.

The group said the “almost unprecedented jump” could be due to the feelgood factor following the royal wedding and extended bank holiday weekends in April, as well as the recent let-up in negative reports about the economy.

But it cautioned that consumer confidence still remains deep in negative territory, while the index is also lower than it was in May last year, when it stood at minus 18.

Nick Moon, managing director of GfK NOP Social Research, said: “We have seen an almost unprecedented jump in consumer confidence this month.

“But before the businesses celebrate, it should be pointed out that this is just one month’s figure and it is far too early to know whether this could be the start of an upward trend. We are improving from a rock bottom position and consumer confidence is still deeply in the negative. We are not out of the woods.”

All five measures of confidence increased during the month, but those relating to the economy saw the biggest gains.

The index measuring people’s attitude towards the outlook for the economy in the coming year rose by 15 points to minus 15, while there was also a 13-point increase in their confidence about the economic situation during the past 12 months, lifting this index to minus 44, one point ahead of where it stood in May 2010.

Consumers also felt confident that their own financial situation would improve during the next year, with this index lifting by 11 points to minus three. People’s attitude towards whether it was a good time to make a major purchase also improved during the month, rising by five points to minus 26.


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