• GfK Consumer Confidence Index jumps three points to +4
  • Shoppers eyeing big ticket purchases this year as confidence in personal finances grows
  • But people’s perception of the UK’s general economic situation remains negative

Consumer confidence rose in January as shoppers eyed big purchases despite outlooks on the general economic situation remaining pessimistic.

Four of the measures used to calculate the GfK Consumer Confidence Index have increased, driving it up to +4, three points ahead of this time last year.

People felt more confident about their personal finances during the past 12 months. That score jumped to +4, up from -2 in January 2015. Shoppers also felt more optimistic about their finances for the coming year, as the personal finance index measuring the next 12 months rose to +9, from +5 a year ago.

Major purchase index jumps 11 points

More people said they were feeling confident enough to buy big ticket items – the major purchase index reached +16, 11 points higher than January 2015.

However, perception of the UK’s general economic situation was more negative, at -3 for the past 12 months, although this represents an increase from -5 in January 2015. The general economic outlook for the next 12 months was at -5, down from -1 on the year.

GfK head of market dynamics Joe Staton said: “UK consumers remain resiliently bullish this month with no sign of the January blues denting their view on the state of their personal finances for both the past year and also for the rest of 2016.

“And with post-Christmas bargain-hungry consumers evidently snapping up bumper discounts across the country, the index was further boosted with shoppers agreeing that now was a good time to buy.

Rocky start to global markets in 2016

“However, despite some gains this month on the general economic situation for the UK – looking back and looking forward – consumers remain pessimistic with these two components of the index still in negative territory.

”February’s barometer will make for interesting reading given the rocky start to global markets this year and the impact on prospects for the year ahead.”

During December 2015 the overall index score sat at +2. Personal finance over the past 12 months was at +3 while personal finance over the next 12 months was at +9. The general economic situation index was -5 for the last 12 months and -6 for the next 12 months. The major purchase index stood at +7.