British consumers have mixed confidence about national economy

Latest results from the Ipsos Global Advisor Economic Pulse survey show that consumer confidence in Great Britain’s national economy hasn’t changed since last month, and is above the average across the last eight years, but that on other metrics Britons are less confident.

British consumers have mixed confidence about national economy

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Samuel Yetman Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
Get in touch

Latest forecasts of GDP growth expect the UK economy to grow by 1.3% in 20181.  This represents a weakened confidence among economists as some had predicted GDP growth of nearly 2% for 2018 at the start of the year2. Overall, predicted UK GDP growth for 2018 is still far lower than the 2.4% expected GDP growth for the Eurozone. Many economists have accredited this to Brexit uncertainty and decreased business investment in the UK.

If economists feel less confident, how do the British public feel about the economy? Latest results from the Ipsos Global Advisor Economic Pulse survey show that consumer confidence in UK economy has not changed since last month, and is above the average across the last eight years. But on other metrics, Britons are less confident.

In September two-fifths of adults (42%) in the UK rated the national economy as good. This is in line with the figure from August, but compares unfavourably with the half of adults (51%) who rated the UK economy as good back in May. Whilst consistent with the average over the last three years (44%), this is substantially above the average across the last eight years (31%). Looking at other major economies, the British are more confident than adults in France (of whom 24% think their economy is good), Spain (21%), and Italy (21%), but less so than those in the US (65%), India (78%), China (85%), and some other European countries such as Belgium (50%) or Germany (80%).

32% of Brits think that the economy in their local area is strong, so unchanged since August (29%), and the same as the average for 2018 (31%). Compared with September in previous years, 2018 is higher than 2017 (27%), but the same as 2015 (36%). Again, we are more confident than adults in France (21%), Spain (19%) and Italy (20%), and less confident than those in the US (56%), India (59%), China (76%), or Germany (59%).

When asked about the future, just one in ten Britons (10%) say that the economy of their local area will be stronger in six months’ time. This is in line with August (12%) but below the average for the last eight years (14%). Strikingly, this makes British consumers some of the least confident around the world about the future of their local economy, with just Belgium (8%) and France (7%) scoring lower. While Britain historically scores lower than the global average on this metric, this recent dip is perhaps the result of the uncertainty driven by fluctuations within the Brexit negotiations, as well as reflecting concerns about the wider economy.

Kelly Beaver, MD, Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute, said:

With just under six months until the UK is due to leave the European Union, consumer confidence in the British economy remains only middling at best, and optimism for the future of our local economies is one of the lowest in the world. We must wait to see what further impact Brexit will have on consumer confidence as we go into the final stages of negotiation with the EU

Survey notes

1: Based on an aggregated averages by the HM Treasury 

2: National Institute for Economic and Social Research predicted GDP growth of 1.9% for 2018 in November 2017. In addition, the Office for Budget Responsibility predicted growth of 1.4% for 2018 in November 2017.

Technical notes

These are the findings of the Global Advisor Wave 114 (G@114),an Ipsos survey conducted between 24 August and 7 September, 2018.

  • The survey instrument is conducted monthly in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are  Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.
  • For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 20,286 adults aged 18-64 in the US, Israel and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Hungary, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/-3.1 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/-4.5 percentage points.
  • The results for this wave include extra countries: Colombia. While these have been added, the total average scores for each section have been calculated without taking these countries into account in order to keep the core 28 country tracking scores consistent with previous waves. Each country has 500+ completed. We occasionally add extra countries to the report in order to either benchmark them or track them on a less frequent basis (perhaps trimester or quarterly) for regional insight.
  • 15 of the 28 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States).
  • Brazil, China, Chile, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens.  We refer to these respondents as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”. They are not nationally representative of their country.

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
  • Samuel Yetman Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

More insights about Public Sector