U.K. Consumer confidence drops again in October

Consumer confidence slipped again to a three-month low in October, dragged down by worries about the economic outlook in the run-up to Brexit.

According to the latest GfK Consumer Confidence Index, shopper morale last month declined one point to -10 compared to the month prior.

This was also well below the -7 recorded in August, but when compared to October last year it remained the same at -10.

The index also showed that worries over how the economy will fare in the next 12 months had risen to the highest since December, especially with Brexit talks still ongoing and the UK scheduled to leave the EU in March.

“The prospect of a no-deal/hard-deal Brexit must surely be weighing heavily on people’s minds, injecting a mood of despondency as to how people view their future personal finances and the longer-term economic outlook for the UK,” GfK client strategy director Joe Staton said.

He also warned that a drop in the major purchases index could mean trouble for retailers ahead of the Black Friday and Christmas trading seasons.

“We also appear to be losing confidence that now is ‘the right time’ to make major purchases,” Staton said.

“This will concern retailers in the run-up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the key Christmas trading period. Consumers behave like financial markets – when confidence is lacking, markets stutter and tumble.

“When confidence comes back, we are more than willing to spend, borrow or save. However, with no immediate prospect of any feelgood news impacting our hearts, minds and wallets, the Index is set for further declines.

“It looks like the UK government will need to administer an exceptionally strong tonic to the nation to settle the obvious Brexit anxieties.”

GfK’s index is updated monthly and is based on a survey of 2001 people.