The Drum Weather forecast, prepared with the help of Union Direct, shows that spending and saving confidence differs across the UK, but people are becoming more optimistic about the general economy.
Consumers remain very cautious about spending and worried about household finances although more optimistic about the general economy and their own situation. Headline GfK NOP confidence is unchanged in February at -29 and 1 point lower than a year ago.
With some respite from Eurozone problems following the Greek bailout and refinancing of bank debt, and UK economic data – particularly in the services sector – pointing to growth in Q1, a double dip recession will be avoided. Improving inflation and unemployment expectations in the GfK survey also suggest economic sentiment will get better in the coming months.
Around the UK…
While overall UK confidence is unchanged on the month, there are notable variations between regions.
In Northern Ireland, possibly because of record fuel prices, confidence slumped by 10 points to -42 and in Wales, where the mood is highly changeable, confidence dropped 7 points. Elsewhere there were either small falls – down 1 point in Scotland to -32 – or slight gains. In London sentiment is up 1 point to -24, in the South, up 1 point to -26 and in the Midlands, up 1 point to -28. There is no change in confidence in the North, at -31.
Compared to a year ago confidence is only higher in London, up 5 points to -24, where optimism is growing with the build-up to the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics/Paralympics. Elsewhere confidence is lower on unchanged.
Spending and saving confidence and activity varies considerably across the UK. For planning marketing / sales campaigns increasingly regional awareness of consumers’ financial behaviour is required.
See the weather forecast map and table in the gallery to the left - click to expand.
Compiled in association with Union Direct