The Index of Consumer Sentiment Quarter 1 2024

Our latest Index of Consumer Sentiment Report covers the first quarter of 2024.

Since Q1 2023 we’ve seen a relatively flat trend in consumer sentiment. To start 2024 the overall Index of Consumer Sentiment fell 0.3 points to 66.1, putting it slightly ahead of where we were this time last year.

Are we seeing a new “normal” for consumer sentiment in the UK? As ever, we need to unpack the detail behind the headline score to properly understand how consumers are feeling.

Download the latest report now.

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Consumer sentiment stuck at a low level

In Q1 2024, consumer sentiment remains stuck at a relatively low level, with analysis suggesting it is in a period of stagnation or slight decline. The Index of Consumer Expectations (about the future) is trending more strongly downwards, suggesting falling confidence that the economic situation will improve.

  • The Index of Consumer Sentiment has fallen very slightly to 66.1

  • The Index of Consumer Expectations has fallen 5 points since Q2 2023, to 66.1

  • The Index of Current Economic Conditions is trending slightly upward

Sentiment in the UK seems to be diverging from that in the USA, but is still following a similar trend to the EU (although this is not a precise like-for-like comparison).

  • Consumer sentiment in the USA has been trending upward since Q3 2022

  • After initial gains in 2023, sentiment in the UK has stagnated

  • The gap now stands at 13 points, a 15 point swing from last quarter

TLF Research founder, Nigel Hill, had the following to say in his foreword:

We’ve consistently seen that consumer sentiment responds to reflect what’s happening to the economy. When inflation is high, consumer sentiment falls. When the cost of living crisis puts the squeeze on household finances, consumers worry about how they’re going to make ends meet.

At the same time we’re seen that consumer sentiment correlates to spending. When people are worried about the economy they’re less likely to make big purchases. When they’re struggling to afford the essentials they cut back where they can.

So why does consumer sentiment matter? Because it’s the glue that connects what’s happening in the economy to consumer behaviour in the high street, and those connections are not straightforward.

Download the full report now and let us know if you have any questions.

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