Consumer confidence continues to rise

Nia Williams

May 21, 2014

The improvement in consumers’ sentiment towards their own personal finances continued with a positive balance of opinion up 8% from this time last year, taking it to +14% in April.

Consumers aged between 45-54 continued to be the only group to have a negative opinion towards their personal finances, which has increased further from -4% last month to -7% in April.

Sentiment towards the housing market is also on the rise, with the balance of opinion continuing to edge towards an overall positive result.

This is the fourth consecutive month that has seen a positive improvement in housing sentiment, taking the overall balance of opinion to -4%, a 40% increase compared to this time last year.

Philip Robinson, director of personal current accounts at Lloyds Bank, said: “We are now starting to see a more general air of positivity towards peoples’ finances. This will help build consumer confidence and have a trickle affect when it comes to consumer choice on their discretionary spend.

“Looking towards the summer, this is likely to rise in the months ahead, with customers feeling more in control of their finances.”

The report shows that overall essential spending growth remained subdued in April, staying below 1% for the second consecutive month. Spending growth on gas and electricity slowed while spending on fuel continued to fall.

With the economy continuing to recover and interest rates likely to rise in time, 71% of consumers said that any change in base rate ‘would not have much of an impact’ or ‘would be able to meet monthly outgoings’ if the rate were to rise from its record low.

Patrick Foley, chief economist at Lloyds Bank, said: “Continuing gains in consumer sentiment mirror the ongoing improvements in the UK economic backdrop.

“Meanwhile, reduced pressure on consumer wallets from essential spending, strong growth in employment and, looking ahead, a pick-up in wage growth, are likely to boost spending power, improving the capacity of consumers to undertake discretionary spending.”

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