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Consumer confidence and financial wellbeing in April 2022

Summary

  • Households continue to feel the squeeze, with 59% having made an adjustment to cover essential spending in the last month and 7.3% having missed a loan, credit card, rent, mortgage or household bill payment. 

  • Consumer confidence remains very low, at -59 for the future of the UK economy and -35 for future household finances.

  • Outlook on current household finances has dropped in recent months, and sits at +21 compared to +42 a year ago.

Households remain under financial pressure

The trend of increasing financial pressure on households continued this month, with 59% reporting having made an adjustment to cover essential spending in the last month. This measure has been increasing since the start of  2022, amid major increases in the cost of living, and compares to 35% in April of last year. Cutting back on essentials was the most common adjustment, reported by 39% of people, followed by dipping into savings at 28%.

A smaller proportion of consumers are under more severe financial pressure. 7.3% of consumers had missed a housing, bill, credit card or loan payment in the last month. This is a similar rate to the last two months, though the overall trend since 2020 has been upward.

The new energy price cap came into effect this month, resulting in large increases in energy bills for many households across England, Wales and Scotland. Energy bills are the most commonly reported type of missed household bill (at 2.2%), though this data was collected only a week after the price cap increased, so the impact of the new price cap is yet to be seen. 

Consumer confidence remains very low

Consumer confidence in future household finances and in the future of the UK economy remained at very low levels in April, having fallen dramatically in March. 71% of consumers think the UK economy will worsen over the next 12 months, whilst just 12% think it will improve, giving a net confidence level of -59.  Confidence in future household finances is at -35.

Confidence in current household finances has typically remained much more optimistic, although it has been falling in recent months. Confidence was at +21 this month, compared to +42 in April of last year. A fifth (22%) of consumers described the financial situation of their household as poor. Some groups of consumers were less confident, with 34% of renters surveyed and 54% of those with a low household income (up to £21,000) describing their household situation as poor.

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email Sophie Beesley at consumerinsight@which.co.uk

Published on 27.04.22

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