A long-running index measuring consumer confidence hit a five-year low in December, dropping by one point to -14.
GfK found that three of the five measures used to calculate its Consumer Confidence Index decreased month on month, with two measures increasing in December.
During the last 12 months, the index measuring changes in personal finances increased two points to -1, the major purchase index increased five points in December to +2 (six points higher than in December 2017) and the general economic situation remained at -31.
The survey of 2,005 individuals also found that the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has decreased four points to -1 in December, three points lower than in the previous year, while expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have decreased six points to -38, marking a 10 point decline on December 2017.
GfK client strategy director, Joe Staton, said: “At minus-14 this month, UK consumers are ending 2018 on a pessimistic note with Christmas cheer in short supply. We are five points lower than this year’s opening score in January and were no higher than -7 this summer
“This represents a more than five-year low for the index which has bumped along in negative territory since 2016. The steep drop of six points for the outlook on the general economy in the coming year is the most telling data point this month with consumers clearly casting a vote of no-confidence in our immediate economic future.
“The uptick in the ‘major purchases’ measure also might be no more than a last festive hurrah for retailers, the only sliver of comfort and joy amidst the gloom. In the face of ever-rising costs, and the threat of higher inflation combined with uncertainty around the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it’s no surprise that consumers are in a chilly mood of despondency and putting on a glum face when they look at the prospects for 2019.”
The research is carried out on behalf of the European Commission.