UK consumer confidence rose half a percentage point to -8.7% in the final quarter of 2019, heralding a more optimistic mood for the coming year.
Sentiment regarding the state of the economy echoed this trend, increasing 27 percentage points on the previous quarter to -28% on the Deloitte Consumer Tracker.
Discretionary spending moved into positive territory for the first time since the Consumer Tracker began in 2011. This is a result of a five percentage point year-on-year growth for disposable income sentiment.
However, retail spending is “expected to remain subdued until these factors gradually translate into greater sales”.
Ben Perkins, head of consumer research, commented: “While consumers appear much more optimistic about their own personal finances, this has yet to be reflected in consumer spending. Online continues to show strong growth, but retailers across the board are looking to attract new customers as well as retain their loyal base in 2020. Opportunities are likely to be found through continued investment in both online and in-store experiences.”
The quarter saw earlier and heavier Christmas discounts than in previous years, Deloitte’s data has shown. Average discounts reached 47% by Christmas Eve, and 52.8% on Christmas Day - 0.7% deeper than last Christmas.