UK consumer confidence is currently in ‘full swing’, according to market research group Nielsen, with Brits breaking a nine-year duck on exceeding the global average for optimism.

For the first time since 2006, UK consumers beat the worldwide level of 96 as a result of increasing their confidence rating from 97 in Q1 to 99 in Q2.

Six consecutive rises on that same grading mean that Brits are now the second most-confident consumers in Europe, according to Nielsen. 

At the other end of the scale, consumers in Greece understandably saw a 12-point decrease to 53 over Q2, but managed to evade a bottom placing in Europe and worldwide.

Top to tail

Considered a steady barometer for assessing optimism around a market, Nielsen’s survey of 30,000 consumers across the world is particularly relevant to e-commerce groups given that every single participant responded online.

With that in mind, retailers may see a correlation between their performance in certain markets and the scores on show.

As aforementioned, debt-ridden Greece saw a notable drop in confidence but still managed to place above Ukraine overall – its score of 48 being the lowest in Europe, only bettered by South Korea on 45. 

Some of the other big European markets to receive a Nielsen score for optimism included European winner Denmark on 112, with Germany managing 97. 

The latest results in graphical form show just how much ground the UK has made on Germany in the last five years. Picking up from a low of 67 in Q1 2011, at the tail-end of the recession, UK confidence has risen in tandem with improvements in several areas, such as optimism in finding a job.

Commenting on the repercussions for retailers in Britain was Nielsen’s UK MD, Steve Smith, who mentioned that frugality in certain areas is on a huge decline.

“This positivity is reflected in the cornerstone of household budgets: grocery spending. The number of UK consumers switching to cheaper grocery brands in order to save money is at its lowest level (30%) since late 2009,” he commented.  

“This is an encouraging sign for retailers that consumer purse-strings may be starting to loosen.”

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