Consumer confidence remained in negative territory in May as “Brexit gremlins” continued to play on the minds of British shoppers.
Although consumer confidence increased slightly following a slump in April, it stayed below zero at -1, according to GfK.
However, all measures except one that are used to calculate shopper optimism edged up during the month, driving the overall score up two points after slumping to -3 in April’s GfK Consumer Confidence Index.
The only measure not to register an uplift was consumers’ confidence in their own financial situation over the year ahead, which remained flat at a score of 7. That represented a four-point uplift year on year.
Despite Brexit uncertainty, shoppers said they were more likely to buy big-ticket items, as the major purchase index jumped four points on the month to +9.
But consumers’ perception of the wider economic situation in the UK continues to hinder the overall index score.
Shoppers’ confidence in the general economic situation over the previous year edged up by one point on the month, but remained at -13, which is 14 points lower than in May 2015.
Consumer confidence in the economy during the upcoming 12 months also increased by one point to -13, but that was 13 points lower year on year.
GfK head of market dynamics Joe Staton said: “Optimists will point to the fact our views on personal finances and our willingness to make major purchases are all up on last year. Perhaps this shows consumers are more confident over areas where they have more direct control.
“But pessimists will emphasise that the music is different when it comes to the general economic situation.
“Despite the tiny uptick this month, our confidence in economic matters, whether we look back or ahead 12 months, remains way below last year.
“Is it because the Brexit gremlins are hard at work? Almost certainly, yes.”