Consumer confidence has reached its highest level for almost 13 years, according to data unveiled by research company GfK today.
GfK said its UK Consumer Confidence Index rose by three points in March to +4 – its highest total since 2002.
All five measures used to calculate the index saw increases during the month, with the ‘major purchase index’ – which judges consumers’ likelihood of making big-ticket electrical or furniture purchases – jumping five points to +9. That score is 16 points higher than this time last year.
Consumers’ outlook on the ‘general economic situation’ for the country during the past 12 months is also 16 points higher than it was in March 2014 after rising four points to +1 this month.
Shoppers’ expectations for the economy over the next 12 months also improved three points to +6.
The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has increased one point to -2, nine points higher year-on-year.
Consumers are also confident about their finances during the next 12 months, with the index hitting +7.
GfK managing director of social research UK Nick Moon said: “At +4, the index is the highest it has been for almost 13 years, and it has gone up a striking eight points in just three months.
“Reaction to the Budget has thus far been muted, but if people warm to it over the next few weeks then we may well see a further increase in the index next month.
“A consistently rising index in the run-up to the election is likely to be good news for the Government.”