Consumer confidence on the up

Consumer confidence in the UK rose in January, according to the Consumer Confidence Index Score from GfK NOP.

The survey, which questions a sample of 2,000 individuals, indicates that consumer confidence has risen from -33 to -29, taking it to the same level as January last year.

In fact, all five measures that make up the four point increase on the overall index score, including personal financial situation and general economic situation over the last 12 months, have also shown an improvement.

Most notable was consumer confidence in making major purchases, which increased by nine points this month to -22, seven points higher than this time last year.

The figures come despite concerns about the UK's negative GDP and on-going reports of another slide into recession. However, the report suggests that latest falls in inflation and the recent drop in energy bills, may have come as a 'few rays of light' to financially depressed households.

GfK NOP cites non-economic influences, such as a return to confidence in the New Year after heavy spending in the run up to Christmas, as possible reasons for the unexpected boost.

However, it is believed that any further resurgence in confidence brought about by events such as the 2012 Olympics will merely spike and dissipate completely within a few months, similar to that of behaviour around Royal Wedding in April last year.

Nick Moon, managing director of GfK NOP Social Research, said: "Consumer confidence is still seriously depressed and we should treat this month's modest improvement with caution. Should February show another rise then we may be seeing signs that the gloom is dispelling - until then we should treat January's findings as good, but certainly not great, news."