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Sat 14th Jul 2018 - UK sees record confidence as consumers spend while the sun shines
UK sees record confidence as consumers spend while the sun shines: UK consumer confidence grew two percentage points in the second quarter of 2018, rising to minus 4%, the highest level recorded by the Deloitte Consumer Tracker since it started in the third quarter of 2011. In research published today, consumer confidence benefited from the effects of a strong labour market and positive wage growth in addition to a feel-good factor caused by the start of a hot summer, a royal wedding and the opening stages of the Fifa World Cup. The quarterly survey of more than 3,000 UK consumers took place between 15 and 18 June, capturing the build-up to the England team’s World Cup games. Despite overall confidence remaining in negative territory, the record level of UK consumer confidence comes following a year of consistent growth from a low point of minus 10% in the second quarter of 2017. A strong labour market provided the foundations for record levels of optimism. Confidence in job security grew two percentage points year-on-year to minus 4% in the second quarter, while confidence in job opportunities and career progression rose seven points during the same period and is now in positive territory for the first time, at 1%. The growth in consumer confidence in the latest Tracker comes despite challenging conditions for businesses, particularly high-street retailers and casual dining operators. This, combined with broader macro-economic concerns, has created a divergence in confidence between consumers and business leaders. The study also revealed confidence in disposable income has grown 13 percentage points year-on-year to minus 11% in the second quarter of 2018. This has helped narrow the spending gap between essentials and discretionary categories for the first time since third-quarter 2016. Seven of the eight discretionary categories measured showed positive movement compared with the previous quarter. Deloitte chief economist Ian Stewart said: “While consumer confidence is on the rise the mood in business is more cautious, reflecting the slowdown in UK growth and Brexit uncertainties. Buoyant consumer sentiment reflects a better picture in terms of jobs and wages.” Ben Perkins, head of consumer research at Deloitte, added: “One only has to look at the headlines and high street to see challenges persist for the retail and casual dining sectors. We’re not out of the woods yet but the continuation of the warm weather and England’s successful run in the World Cup will certainly help drive footfall and spending in the short term.”

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