UK Consumer Confidence

CONSUMER confidence in the UK has increased for the sixth successive quarter to surpass the global average for the first time in more than nine years, according to new figures today from Nielsen.

The last time the UK outpaced the global average was in the first quarter of 2006, when Tony Blair was in his third term as Prime Minister and the UK interest rate was 4.5%.

Steve Smith, managing director for Nielsen in the UK and Ireland, said positivity about job prospects and personal finances are both at their highest levels since before the 2008 financial crisis.

This has been reflected in household budgets, with the number of consumers switching grocery brands to save money at the lowest level – 30% - since late 2009.

“Consumers in the UK are feeling ever more confident,” Smith said. “Wage inflation is starting to outstrip price inflation for the first time in years, while mortgage rates are at historically low levels and unemployment has generally been falling.”

The UK also overtook Germany, which dropped from 100 to 97, for the first time in more than five years. Consumers in the UK are now the second most confident in Europe after Denmark, which at a reading of 112 ranks fourth in the world.