Press Room

First fall in UK consumer confidence for two years as terrorism and immigration concerns escalate

However, UK consumer positivity about purchasing at highest-ever level

LONDON – 2 February, 2016. UK consumer confidence has fallen for the first time since 2013, according to the latest Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions.

The UK Consumer Confidence Index dipped two points to 101 in Q4 2015, from 103 in Q3. In contrast, confidence across Europe as a whole increased four points to 81. A score over 100 indicates degrees of optimism, below 100, degrees of pessimism.

Terrorism and immigration are currently the two biggest concerns among UK consumers. The latest results show terrorism anxiety has hit its highest-ever level, with 32% of UK consumers citing it as their biggest or second-biggest concern – more than double the level a year earlier (13%). Immigration concerns have increased 5 percentage points over the same period to 22%.

“Consumer concerns about terrorism and immigration have risen considerably. We’re closely watching for any effects these demographic and political issues may eventually have on consumer spending,” says Nielsen UK & Ireland managing director Steve Smith. “In general, big and unexpected events would likely be the most disruptive for consumers.”

Financial concerns drop across the board

In contrast, over the course of 2015, concerns about rising utility bills, rising food prices, the economy, job security and debt all fell.

The number of UK consumers feeling positive about making purchases has hit 52%, rising above the 50% mark for the first time since the question first appeared in the survey nearly ten years ago (Q3, 2006).

Those reporting they’ve changed spending habits to save money dropped to 50% – the lowest level since the question first appeared nearly seven years ago (Q1, 2009).

“For the first time, our study shows the majority of UK consumers are now feeling positive about spending,” explains Smith. “A succession of favourable factors – such as a glut of retail promotions, falling fuel prices and a supermarket price war – is helping to make our money go further, leaving more to spend on non-essentials such as leisure and entertainment.”

How the UK compares

The global Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 97. The UK is Europe’s second most confident country, behind Denmark (110). India (131) has the highest score globally, South Korea the lowest (46).

The scores are derived from Nielsen’s study, established in 2005, which measures attitudes each quarter on topics including personal finances and job prospects among 30,000+ internet consumers in 61 countries. Consumer confidence increased in 26 (43%) of these markets.

To view historical trends for all countries, broken down by metrics such as financial concerns and job prospects, visit the interactive Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Trend Tracker.


Notes to Editors

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions was conducted 2-25 November, 2015 and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 61 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes Internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country. It is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.6% at the global level. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behaviour of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The China Consumer Confidence Index is compiled from a separate mixed methodology survey among 3,500 respondents in China. The sub-Saharan African countries in this study are compiled from a separate mobile methodology survey among 1,600 respondents in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance.  Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit


Alex Burmaster
Meteor Public Relations
Tel: 020 3544 3570
Mob: 0780 313 1144

Neil Beston
PR Director, UK & Europe
Tel: 020 3103 3959
Mob: 07770 644136