Consumer confidence is at an all-time high in the UK, according to recent data from the European Commission’s Economic Sentiment Index released on May 28th. The report found that confidence is rising most rapidly among young people and workers in full-time employment – although even for those who are self-employed or working part-time, confidence is at its highest since 1998.
It’s also the first time in 16 years that a positive net balance of respondents expect unemployment to decrease over the coming year, and overall the number of people who feel the economy is improving has risen. Among young people, confidence is at its highest ever, while results for the 30-64 age groups are also the highest since 1998.
The results come at the same time as reports from the Confederation of Business Industry, which found that retail sales in the UK were continuing to grow, albeit slowly, with furniture and home improvement sector claiming one of the strongest retail performances in the UK. Despite a difficult start, retailers are expecting sales to increase further over the next quarter.
“At +7.6 in May, the European Commission’s consumer confidence index is at its highest level since the series started in 1985 and substantially above its long-term average of -9.7,” Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, commented, adding: “News that consumer confidence has extended its upward trend to a new long-term high in May bodes well for consumer spending in the near term at least. Confidence is being boosted by generally improving purchasing power, increased job security and generally more upbeat views of the economy.”