Consumer confidence was up slightly in September

Consumer confidence was up slightly in September

While confidence in personal finances declined in September, UK consumers remain in a defiant mood as retail sales continue to grow despite non-food prices increasing at their highest rate for 25 years, new figures show.

GfK's latest Consumer Confidence Index saw an increase of one point to -9 in September, with both measures for personal financial situation decreasing, and the two measures for general economic situation increasing.

The Major Purchase Index also saw an increase, up one point to +1, but still eight points lower than September 2016.

Meanwhile, the measure for the country's general economic situation during the last 12 months has increased two points to -28, 12 points lower than September last year. Expectations for the next 12 months have increased three points this month to -24, 15 points lower than this time last year

Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, says that while confidence in personal finances, both looking back and ahead a year, has slipped this month, retail sales in the UK continue to grow despite non-food prices increasing at their highest rate for 25 years. "Consumers appear to be in a mixed mood – with some confidence measures up and others down – yet there's a strong note of defiance."

He adds: "Many commentators expected shoppers to cut back on spending thanks to the lower purchasing power that arises from higher inflation and weak wage growth. But consumers are still spending out there, and have repeatedly defied predictions of a downturn since last year's Brexit vote, partly by running down savings and/or borrowing more. Indeed, the major purchase indicator has crept up a second month in a row and the savings index has sagged. It's live now, pay later. This defiant consumer mood seems to be the 'new normal'. But how long can it last?"

The survey was conducted amongst a sample of 2,043 individuals aged 16+ on behalf of the European Commission.