The survey from April 2022 shows a marked weakening of consumer sentiment. In particular, consumers’ outlook for the general economic situation has turned far more pessimistic. Households are feeling the strain as prices continue to rise. Meanwhile, the situation on the labour market is again being viewed as more positive.
The consumer sentiment index in April (−27 points) plunged to well below the long-term average (−5 points), marking the biggest decline since the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020.
Swiss households are particularly pessimistic about how the economic situation will develop over the next 12 months, with the corresponding sub-index (−31 points) now well below the long-term average. Thus, for the first time in more than a year, respondents are again expecting weak economic activity, albeit not to an extent comparable with spring 2020.
The sub-indices for past (103 points) and expected price developments (122 points) have again risen sharply since January’s survey. Inflation is dampening households’ purchasing power. The sub-index on how people expect their financial situation to change over the next 12 months (−25 points) has fallen to a similar level as in spring 2020, and the past financial situation (−22 points) is also viewed negatively. This, combined with heightened uncertainty in connection with the war in Ukraine, is likely to be a major driver in consumers’ current reluctance to make major purchases. The corresponding sub-index dropped further to −31 points.
Despite the overall negative outlook, consumers’ expectations for the labour market situation remain better than average. There was a marked improvement since January in the sub-index on perceptions of job security (−31 points), which is now well above the long-term average. Furthermore, unemployment figures are expected to continue to develop favourably over the next 12 months.