Consumer confidence in the UK rose for the fifth successive quarter to hit its highest level for nine years – according to the latest figures from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights.
The UK Consumer Confidence Index hit 97 in Q1 2015; the last time it was higher was Q1 2006 (101), when Tony Blair was in his third term as PM, the base interest rate was 4.5% and Facebook first opened to the public. A score above 100 indicates degrees of optimism – below 100, degrees of pessimism.
For the first time in 7½ years, the UK Index is now no lower than the Global Index, also at 97 in Q1 2015. (Both were 94 in Q3 2007.)
The score is derived from Nielsen's Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions. Established in 2005, it measures consumer attitudes to topics including job prospects and personal finances each quarter among 30,000 internet consumers in 60 countries.
The Q1 highlights show the number of UK consumers:
• Feeling positive about their job prospects increased for the eighth consecutive quarter to 45% – the highest level for 7½ years (Q3 2007, 50%)
• Believing the UK is in a recession dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter to 51% – the lowest level since the question first appeared in the survey, seven years ago (Q1, 2008)
• Feeling that now is a good time to make purchases rose 3 points to 45% – the highest level since the question first appeared in the survey, 8½ years ago (Q3, 2006)
• Who say they've changed spending habits to save money stood at 56% – the second lowest point on record (behind Q4, 2014 – 54%)
• Feeling positive about their personal finances rose 5 points to 50% – the highest level for 7½ years (Q3 2007, 54%)
Nielsen UK managing director Steve Smith said:
"Consumer confidence in the UK continues to rise. The UK is one of the fastest growing major economies, unemployment is falling and people are benefiting from zero inflation and lower prices in supermarkets and petrol stations,"
"Whilst the majority of people are still cost-cutting – perhaps habitually now – wages, for others, are rising faster than household expenses. This is leading to more optimism about their future spending, so we expect to see confidence continue to rise in 2015."
The Nielsen European Consumer Confidence Index stands at 77. Within the region, Denmark has the highest index (106), Ukraine the lowest (41). Ukraine's is also the lowest globally, among all 60 countries measured, while India's is the highest (130).
To show historical trends for the UK and all 60 countries, broken down by metrics such as financial concerns and job prospects, visit the interactive Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker.