Friday 23 April 2021 6:24 am

Consumer confidence stalls amid fears of new variants and the cost of coronavirus

Consumer confidence stalled in April, as consumers took a more guarded view of the future amid new Covid variants emerging.

The closely-watched consumer confidence index from researcher GfK jumped just one point in April to minus 15, a significantly more subdued movement than March’s seven-point leap.

Coronavirus restrictions are slowly easing in the UK, with customers now able to frequent pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail, albeit with social distancing rules in place.

GfK measured that Brits felt moderately less confident about their current personal finances, with the index down one point to minus three.

Their feelings about their personal finances for the coming 12 months had not changed from last month, still at 10 points, but consumers felt better about the UK’s general economic situation, up another six points in April to minus 11.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said consumers had taken a more guarded view of the future this month.  

“The improvement in the consumer mood since January is welcome but the pandemic has hit household finances hard and, on the road ahead, we will still see concerns over new variants, rising inflation and the debt overhang,” he said.

“Nevertheless, there’s every chance that as the recovery gains momentum and the numbers get stronger, confident consumers will continue to spend and drive the wheels of UK finances into the summer and beyond.”