UK consumer confidence recovers post-Brexit

1st Sep 2016

Consumer confidence has grown at its fastest monthly rate in three-and-a-half years, the latest YouGov/CEBR Consumer Confidence Index shows. 

The Index, which measures people's economic sentiment on a daily basis, rose by 3.2 points in August, its biggest month-on-month increase since February 2013. 

The rise follows a sharp drop to the Index's lowest point in three years, following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union on 24 June, and suggests Brexit does not currently faze British customers. 

“For all the talk of doom and gloom – both in the months leading up to the referendum and in the days following it – most consumers have yet to feel much tangible impact of the vote,” says Stephen Harmston, head of reports at YouGov. “It’s clear that the panic that gripped the public in the immediate aftermath of the referendum has subsided as institutions like the Bank of England take decisive action and the result becomes a part of life.”

Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, agrees that the results of the Index are promising, but suggests organisations need to focus on customer service if this upward trend is to continue.  

“Despite recent uncertainty around UK economic growth, our service industries have proved resilient,” she says. “But the question is whether this trend can continue.”

The Institute’s own data reveals that 43% of consumers have purposely not bought a second product or service from an organisation following a less-than-satisfactory experience. “Worryingly, one in six also claim to experience poor customer service at least once a week,” Causon adds. “It’s a stark warning to boardrooms because we’re clearly not seeing the level of service customers demand and this is a huge missed opportunity.

“It’s more important than ever for businesses to invest in the development of their customer-facing staff as better service leads to improved market share. If we are to tackle the current challenging economic backdrop, organisations need to realise that investing in skills is the best approach to long-term stability.”

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