Consumer confidence at its lowest point since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic
November 10th, 2022, Christien Pheby

Consumer confidence at its lowest point since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Consumer confidence declines to its lowest score since April 2020 (-3.0)
  • Confidence in short-term house prices (-9.4) and outlook (-11.3) plunges
  • Retrospective (-1.2) and forward-looking (-2.5) business activity metrics fall

  • Optimism around household finances improves (+2.5) but remains negative

October saw UK consumer confidence fall for the third month in a row, according to new analysis from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). The 3.0 point decline from 97.7 to 94.7 leaves it at the lowest point since April 2020, and is the fourth-lowest score in the ten-year history of the index.

YouGov collects consumer confidence data every day, conducting over 6,000 interviews a month. Respondents answer questions about household finances, property prices, job security, and business activity, both over the past 30 days and looking ahead to the next 12 months.

October saw average houses in the UK decline for the first time in 15 months, with some predicting far steeper falls in the year ahead. Against this backdrop, and with rising interest rates making mortgages more expensive for current and would-be homeowners, perceptions of house prices over the past 30 days plummeted from 124.8 to 115.4 (-9.4), while outlook for the next 12 months crashed from 120.4 to 109.1 (-11.3).

While homeowner metrics saw the most dramatic changes, scores also worsened across most other measures. Employees were more likely to say that their workplaces had gotten less busy, with scores decreasing from 108.6 to 107.3 (-1.2*) in the short-term. Outlook for the year ahead saw a similar downturn from -116.5 to 114.9 (-1.5*). Feelings about job security among this group also worsened retrospectively, falling by -2.5 points from 93.6 to 91.1, although outlook improved a little, inching up from 118.3 to 118.8 (+0.5).

But if we are looking for the major contributor to this month’s low scores for the overall index, it is the ongoing pessimism when it comes to household finances. Outlook actually improved for the second month in a row, climbing from 43 to 45.5 (+2.5), but this remains the lowest score in the overall index by some distance – and makes it the 14th month in a row that this score has been negative.

Retrospective measures fell from 56.5 to 55.8 (-0.7), the second-worst score for this measure – which has never seen a net positive score – on record.

*All figures rounded to the nearest decimal place.