Shopper confidence is at its highest since May 2008, with the GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index up five points to -30 for March.

The research also show that the measure of confidence in the general economy over the last year has improved, up seven points, to -75. Expectations for the economic situation over the coming year have risen by nine points to -31, a point higher than March 2008.

The index measuring changes in personal finances over the last year has risen by one point to -17, thirteen points lower than this time last year. The forecast for changes to personal finances over the next year has also risen two points to -6, however, it remains ten points lower than February 2008.

GfK NOP consumer confidence team member Rachael Joy said: “This month consumer confidence jumped quite significantly to levels not seen since May last year. It still remains historically very low, but suggests that lower interest rates and a better picture for household bills are restoring some confidence among UK consumers.

“Certainly, when looking to the future, consumers are feeling better about the likely performance of the economy over the next 12 months.”

Investec analyst Natalia Marisova said: “The Climate for Major Purchases index has risen only slightly, by 1 point this month. However, this movement marked the 5th consecutive month of improvement.
“While it is still premature to classify this month’s increase in confidence as an evolving trend, we still see no signs of deterioration”.