Friday 3 April 2020 12:01 am

UK consumer confidence plunges after deepest quarterly decline on record

UK consumer confidence in the first quarter of the year fell nine percentage points as the coronavirus pandemic hit home.

Confidence in job security fell 15 percentage points from the previous quarter to -20, Deloitte’s consumer tracker showed.

Sentiment in the state of the economy fell to -71, with consumers signposting a further three percentage point fall over the next three months.

Read more: Coronavirus: UK business confidence falls to lowest level since October

More than a third of consumers said they had lost money due to holiday or event cancellation.

The consumer tracker plunged to its lowest level since the tracker began in the third quarter of 2011.

Consumer sentiment on the state of the economy fell 43 percentage points, quarter-on-quarter, with consumers anticipating a worsening of the economic situation over the next three months.

Consumer sentiment dropped across every measure of the survey, with general health and levels of disposable income most negative, at -28 and -27 respectively.

Read more: Arcadia furloughs 14,500 staff following coronavirus shutdown

The UK’s lowest earning households recorded the lowest levels of confidence, the research showed.

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said: “The shock to the economy that we have seen in a matter of weeks is causing jobs losses on a greater scale than in the financial crisis.

“The government is leaning against the downturn with unprecedented support for jobs, incomes and businesses.

“Despite this, worries about job security and the state of the economy have generated a sharp downturn in consumer confidence.

“With the peak of the virus outbreak not yet reached, consumers enter the second quarter of the year expecting things to get worse before they get better.”

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