British consumer morale fell for a second consecutive month in November, marking the first back-to-back drop since the summer of 2011, a survey showed today.
Market research company GfK’s monthly consumer confidence index fell to -12 from -11 in October, wrong-footing analysts who had expected a small rise.
The survey showed Britons were more pessimistic about their own finances and less willing to splash out on big-ticket items despite a brighter economic outlook.
Wages have been rising more slowly than inflation and many Britons feel they are not seeing the benefits of the recovery. The rising cost of living has become a political flashpoint and the government is under pressure to announce measures to curb rising energy bills in a budget update next week.
The consumer confidence poll was conducted in the first two weeks of November, when steep rises in gas and electricity tariffs made headline news.
“It does now seem that the seemingly inexorable rise of the previous six months has come to a halt,” said Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK.
“What will be interesting over the next few months is the potential conflict between continuing good news about the economy, and consumers not feeling personally any better off.”
A laggard among the world’s industrialised countries until this year, Britain now has one of the fastest-growing economies with an annualised growth rate of more than 3 percent, driven mostly by domestic consumer spending.