Consumer confidence increased slightly in December. The indicator rose from -29 to -28. Willingness to buy increased during the holiday season, while consumers’ opinions on the economic climate deteriorated even more.
Indicators consumer confidence
Opinions on the economic climate dropped by 4 points and stood at -56. Consumers were far more pessimistic about the economic situation in the past twelve months than they were in November. The outlook for the economic climate in the coming twelve months hardly deteriorated.
Despite their more negative view of the economy, consumers’ willingness to buy increased by 4 points and stood at -9. This increase was mainly caused by a far less negative view on whether it is a good time to buy expensive items such as furniture or a washing machine. Consumers were slightly less pessimistic about their own financial situation in the past twelve months as well as in the coming year.
Although consumer confidence hardly changed in December, the number of consumers who expect an increase in unemployment in the next twelve months has risen sharply for the third month in a row. In September, nearly 10 percent of respondents expected unemployment to rise. In October this number had risen to more than 20 percent and a month later to over 40 percent. In December almost 60 percent of consumers expected an increase in unemployment in the next twelve months.
In general, consumer confidence among women is lower than among men. This difference diminished in the course of 2008, mainly because men quickly became more pessimistic about the economic climate. At the end of 2008, men are just as gloomy about the economy as women.