Consumers are starting to feel more confident for spring, according to new report
The latest edition of the PwC consumer sentiment survey, conducted immediately after the Spring Budget, saw consumers feeling more optimistic about their spending power for the year ahead.
The professional services firm has been tracking the mood of the nation since April 2008, capturing the highs and lows of how consumers feel at a given moment in time.
Sentiment, which sat at -44 in September 2022 and -32 at the beginning of January 2023, now sits at -25.
Although still in negative territory, it is a marked improvement from last autumn when the measurement was almost at a historic low.
The sentiment of under 25s has improved by 13 points (to +15) since the start of the year, ranking them as the most positive age group, and reflecting the fact that many young people still live at home, sheltering them from the worst effects of the cost of living crisis.
Despite rising inflation and the cost of living crisis, almost a third of consumers polled now believe their finances are ‘healthy’ with 90 per cent stating they do not consider themselves to be struggling.
This improved financial health is reflected in consumers’ spending intentions, with fewer people expecting to make spending cutbacks than six months ago.
The biggest improvements were in the proportion of people planning to reduce home energy consumption or to drive less because of petrol prices.
Lisa Hooker, leader of industry for consumer markets at PwC, said:“It is encouraging to see how consumers are responding to the changing economic environment. Whilst sentiment is still negative, it is beginning to recover."
She added: “Time and time again, consumer sentiment continues to show me how resilient this sector is.”