Consumer confidence rises as the public get more optimistic about household finances
February 14th, 2023, Christien Pheby

Consumer confidence rises as the public get more optimistic about household finances

Consumer confidence increased by 2.4 points in January 2023

  • Short-term (+5.7) and forward-looking (+10.5) household finance measures saw significant improvements
  • House value measures for the past 30 days (+3.7) and next 12 months (+5.8) also trended upwards

  • Job security and business activity metrics declined

Improving household finance and house value measures helped consumer confidence jump 2.4 points in January 2023 – according to the latest data from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

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.
While the tail end of 2022 was dominated by talk of a recession, the early weeks of 2023 have suggested that the economy is defying expectations. This increasingly optimistic mood may be reflected in public perceptions of household finances: retrospective measures for this metric improved from 62.3 to 68.0 (+5.7), and with outlook jumping 10.5 points from 56.9 to 67.4 (+10.5). It’s the largest increase ever for the forward-looking measure, and the largest increase since May 2020 for the short-term measure. This, of course, has to be put in the context of last year’s series of historic lows – which saw outlook for household finances fall by 19.3 points in February 2022 as news of the changing energy price cap emerged – and both scores remain negative overall.

Homeowners were also in a more positive mood by the end of January, with perceptions of house prices over the past 30 days rising by 3.7 points – from 106.7 to 110.4 – and rising by 5.8 points for the next 12 months, from 105.1 to 110.9. It’s an improvement that seems a little at odds with the news that house prices were flat in January, and (per some reports) could be poised to fall over the rest of the year.

Other measures saw varying degrees of negative movement. Business activity for the past 30 days slid by -2.2 points from 108.8 to 106.6, while outlook declined 1.6 points from 117.3 to 115.6. Employees were also more likely to view their job security in a less favourable light, with retrospective measures showing a 0.7 deterioration from 91.9 to 91.2, while expectations for the next year slipped by 1.8 points from 118.2 to 116.4.

But however worse these metrics got, they weren’t enough to stop the improving household finance and house price measures from moving the overall index in a more positive direction.